helping low-income residents get otherwise un-affordable critical medications

Knox Clinic Prescription Assistance program available to residents

Fri, 04/24/2020 - 5:15pm

    One in four U.S. adults were unable to pay for prescribed medicine in the last 12 months (2019 Gallop Poll), and that was before the current pandemic which has resulted in so many being laid off and losing health insurance coverage. If you are uninsured, are falling in the ‘donut hole’ of Medicare, or want to know if you can lower your prescription costs, the Knox Clinic is here to help, according to the Clinic, in a news release.

    The Knox Clinic is a volunteer-based nonprofit advocating for and providing free/low cost medical, dental, prescription assistance, mental health and wellness services to the uninsured and underinsured in Knox County, plus border towns.

    “We believe everyone deserves access to quality care,” said the Clinic.

    The Clinic has saved Midcoast residents more than $18,500,000 in medication costs since the Prescription Assistance Program (PAP) began in 2004. It helps low-income community members get critically important medications they otherwise could not afford, including insulin for diabetes, inhalers to manage asthma, and medications for depression, high cholesterol, glaucoma, and more.

    For medications without a free program, PAP coordinator Lisa Mele prints coupons and researches which pharmacy has the cheapest price. For example, a three month supply of atorvastatin, a common cholesterol
    medication, is $16 at one pharmacy, but $160 at another.

    One person who uses the program has been greatly affected by the recent Covid-19 restrictions. John has been employed as a dishwasher for several years and was laid off without pay for several weeks before he received any unemployment.

    “It took a while, I got behind and could not have picked up my medications with no income,” said John, in the release. “It is hard enough to afford when I am working. I would just not take them because they are so expensive.”

    John’s four prescriptions together cost $4,400 for 90 day supplies without insurance.

    “I tell people I know to go to the Clinic for their prescriptions, the dental program and to see the doctors,” he said.

    For thirteen years Dana Coleman, PAP coordinator, navigated the cumbersome pharmaceutical systems to help residents get essential medications for free. Lisa Mele became the new Prescription Assistance Coordinator in January. Mele has eight years experience working with uninsured and under-insured in the Mid-coast area.

    “I am truly blessed to be able to help community members,” she said. “My goal is to reduce the stress associated with the process of obtaining medications and to keep our neighbors healthy.”

    While Covid-19 restrictions are in effect the Knox Clinic continues to provide services within the guidelines set by the CDC. Please call 301-6996 for non-urgent questions. The Prescription Assistance Program is operating with additional safety measures such as masking and curbside pick-up of medications.

    The Prescription Assistance Program costs less than $30,000 a year to run, and saves residents over one million dollars every year, according to the Clinic.

    “We are so grateful to everyone who supports our work, we couldn’t do this without you,” said Executive Director Meredith Batley. “That’s an astonishing return on your investment in our community.” 

    To make a tax-deductible donation, to volunteer, or to request services, please call 301-6996, or visit the website at