Patient Assistance Programs

Many pharmaceutical companies offer free or low-cost prescription medicines (both brand names and generics). 

Patient Assistance Programs

Many pharmaceutical companies offer free or low-cost interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) prescription medicines (both brandnames and generics) to IC/BPS patients. A means for giving back to the community, these discount medicine programs, referred to as Patient Assistance Programs (PAPs), are usually designed for low-income individuals and families. However, some companies also offer discount coupons available for all IC/BPS patients.

PAPs typically require proof of financial status and documented information from your IC/BPS doctor or other healthcare provider. Some programs may require that you have either no health insurance or no prescription drug benefits if you have health insurance. Typically, these programs do not cover over-the-counter IC/BPS medicines and may not cover off-label use of a medicine or coverage of opioid (pain) medicines (with the exception of Purdue Pharma).

Some PAPs require registration. However, be on the lookout for scams. For guidance through the maze of websites offering low cost and no cost medicines, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued the consumer alert No Need to Pay for Information on Free (or Low-Cost) Rx Drugs.

To find out if you qualify for any of these pharmaceutical company programs, check directly with the pharmaceutical company that makes your IC/BPS medicine. Another option is to start with a reputable site that serves as a clearinghouse for low-cost/no cost prescription programs. Some sites also include information about other healthcare cost reductions. Many clearinghouses are nonprofits established by pharmaceutical companies. They offer one-stop shopping for online qualification and application forms, toll-free assistance, drug searches, and helpful Q & A sections about important topics such as qualifying even if you receive Medicare Part D.

There are also many government-sponsored programs that offer medical benefits, including prescription coverage, to those who qualify. Several of these trustworthy pharmaceutical, clearinghouse, and government sites are listed below.

Program Offered by the Distributors of Elmiron

Janssen Prescription Assistance: Find programs that provide assistance with medication costs. Here you can search for information about prescription assistance programs sponsored by relevant Janssen Pharmaceuticals Companies as well as up-to-date information about independent foundations that may have available funding to help minimize drug costs.

Web-based PAP Clearinghouses (or This is the website of the nonprofit Partnership for Prescription Assistance, the largest national private sector coalition sponsored by a drug company trade group and launched to help patients get the medicines they need. You determine whether you qualify for a prescription assistance program and search for and select your medications. This program has been helpful for some IC/BPS patients. NeedyMeds is a nonprofit website resource of information to help you find prescription programs and assistance. This program includes some of the medicines typically prescribed to treat IC/BPS. PatientAssistance is a nonprofit web-based PAP that helps to connect you with possible solutions to your medicine coverage challenges, including IC/BPS drugs. RxAssist is a resource center with information about PAPs, including a very useful PAP Pharmaceutical Company Online Directory. RxHope offers help with finding no cost/low cost prescriptions and was launched in 1999 by Volunteers in Health Care (VIH), a national resource center for safety net organizations based out of Brown University.

Programs for Seniors Developed and maintained by the nonprofit National Council on Aging(NCOA), BenefitsCheckUp is a comprehensive web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources.

Government Assistance Programs

Social Security Administration (SSA): offers disability benefits, including prescription benefits, under two programs:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program for people who have worked for a designated period of time and have paid Social Security taxes
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is based on financial need.
  • There is a Ruling for IC/BPS through the SSA to help better people with IC/BPS qualify for government disability benefits. Check out the Social Security Disability section of the ICA website. If you qualify for disability benefits through the SSA, you may be able to get medicines at a reduced rate.

State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP): Those who are uninsured and with children between 0 to 18 years of age may qualify for prescription coverage through the US SCHIP.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (a division of the US Health and Human Services Department): good resource to use to find out what prescription benefits you may be eligible for if you are receiving Medicare or Medicaid. For information on Medicare Prescription Drug plans, check out, a tool to find the plans in each state that cover specific drugs.