updated 10/15/2010 3:15:30 PM ET 2010-10-15T19:15:30

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Oct. 15, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With nearly 15 million people still without jobs, programs that help patients receive their medicines either for free or at reduced cost are a godsend for many. Yet few take advantage of them.

In a telephone survey of more than 2,000 Americans conducted by Harris Interactive, 79 percent of those who are uninsured and unemployed are somewhat or not-at-all aware that such programs exist. Many patients, therefore, resort to cutting their medicines, trying alternatives, or simply doing without.

In an effort to raise awareness of these programs, companies are increasing the messages online and partner with non-profit organizations. One such company is Elorac, a Vernon Hills, Ill., company that has established Avenue to Access in collaboration with the National Psoriasis Foundation.

According to the Foundation, approximately 44 percent of their members reported going without treatment because of financial issues. Avenue to Access offers patients like Julio Martinez of Las Vegas, Nev. the chance to receive prescription medicines.

For nearly 20 years, Martinez endured the burning, itching and pain from psoriasis, a skin condition that appears as dry, red patches on the skin. Recently retired, Martinez used over-the-counter medications and other alternative therapies to avoid having to pay a significant amount for prescription medicines; neither helped to ease the flares.

Martinez went online and found Avenue to Access, the patient assistance program that Elorac established in collaboration with the National Psoriasis Foundation. Like most Internet users, Martinez would not have found the program had he not taken control of his health and began searching for new therapies online.

To learn more about Elorac's Avenue to Access program, patients can go online and visit avenuetoaccess.com. For programs beyond psoriasis, organizations such as NeedyMeds.com,RxAssist.org, and Partnership for Prescription Assistance (pparx.org) offer a comprehensive database of programs that patients can quickly access. Many pharmaceutical companies also provide programs of their own. A simple search online can lead patients to a trove of resources.

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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