KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON - King County Executive Ron Sims has proposed a new agreement to provide homeless patients with needed medications at no charge to them or the Public Health clinics where they receive care. The proposal, through an agreement between Pfizer and King County, has been transmitted to the King County Council for their approval and would save an estimated $35,000 in King County general fund expenditures per year.
"For many of our homeless residents, health care is a critical link to stability and a future off the streets. But to get and stay well, medications can be an important, but costly, part of treatment," said King County Executive Ron Sims. "This program will provide them better access to needed medications while saving county resources."
Through its Health Care for the Homeless Program, Public Health is eligible to participate in Pfizer's program, which would provide qualified homeless patients of Downtown and North Public Health Centers with medication that may not otherwise be affordable or available at those sites. Public Health has existing agreements with other pharmaceutical companies to obtain medications at low cost, but this new relationship is unique in that medications are provided directly to Public Health pharmacies by Pfizer, so that there is no additional paperwork or delay in getting prescriptions filled for homeless patients.
"At a time when our county's budget challenges are great, we need to find new ways to meet the critical health needs of our community's most vulnerable," said King County Council Chair and Board of Health Chair Julia Patterson. "This agreement will help more homeless people get medication and will stretch our public health resources further."
Under the program, homeless patients would have access to Pfizer medications for conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, depression and bacterial infections.
These medications are available through Pfizer's Sharing the Care Product Replenishment Program, a partnership joining Pfizer Patient Assistance Foundation, the National Governors' Association, and the National Association of Community Health Centers. Nationally, there are more than 450 qualified health centers around the country participating, including community health centers in King County, and more than two million low-income patients benefit from the program.
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.8 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.