People in North Carolina who are unable to afford their medicines can now get some of them for free. The NC MedAssist program has created a mail-order central pharmacy to provide medications for free. Both generics and brand name drugs are covered. With a shout-out to Big Pharma for donating the pharmaceuticals in the first place! In 2009, the state rolled out a pilot program to give low-income North Carolinians access to needed prescription drugs. Now that program has been expanded state-wide, so I guess it has been a success thus far. The project was developed as a partnership between the NC Attorney General’s Office, NC Association of Free Clinics, and NC MedAssist. Among other medications available under NC MedAssist, low-income patients will have access to: Antipsychotics: Zyprexa, Haldol, and Seroquel; Antidepressants: Cymbalta, Prozac, Nortioptyline, and Trazadone Others: Lithium, Depakote, Clonidine, and Hydroxyzine. This program is available to North Carolinians, both adults and children, living at or below 200% of the federal poverty line; adults and children who do not qualify for Medicaid, VA, or private insurance; and/or Medicare Part D participants who fall in the infamous “Donut Hole.” One can enroll in NC MedAssist by downloading an enrollment packet at www.medassist.org, or by calling 1-866-331-1348. If one is in Forsyth, Stokes, Davie or Yadkin counties, enrollment is possible by called MedAid at 336-714-2359. Even better, if one enrolls in NC MedAssist, there is only one application form for all the participating drug companies instead of the current one form for each company process. Participating pharmaceutical companies include Novartis, Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca. These companies will ship medicines in bulk to NC MedAssist’s central pharmacy that will ship medications directly to people’s homes. It promises to be quick and easy. Once again, I say we as psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health therapists give a round of applause to these drug companies. Even if we believe that the major motivation for them to donate medications is PR, the fact is that low-income people in North Carolina are going to be able to obtain their medicine for nothing!