How do you provide access to medicine for nearly 2 million uninsured or underinsured residents?

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, nearly 40 percent of Illinois residents were living more than 200 percent below the Federal poverty level and were either without health insurance or had inadequate coverage. PhRMA, the trade association for the leading U.S. pharmaceutical companies, created a single point of access to easily connect these residents to hundreds of pharmaceutical company programs providing free or discounted medicines.

PhRMA relied on Grisko’s healthcare PR expertise to help launch and roll out the Rx for Illinois initiative, also known as the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. The challenge? Create a statewide movement that would first reach trusted partners who could inform qualified residents and sign them up at the same time. Then, get the word out through community outreach and local media.

The “Help Is Here” Express.

The movement began with a grass tops recruitment effort among doctors and pharmacists throughout the state and influential health-related partners, including the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, Illinois Mental Health Association and Rainbow PUSH. Working through them, we directed patients to the program’s website and hotline, while spreading the word about Rx for Illinois’ benefits. We also managed outreach for the “Help Is Here” Express bus that toured and held events throughout the state. Trained specialists were on board to provide information and demos on how to access the patient assistance programs. We also helped raise awareness of Rx for Illinois through outreach at health clinics, libraries and churches in minority communities across the Chicago region.

A groundswell of support and participation.

Grisko’s PR campaign was a huge success and the media relations strategy generated hundreds of news stories in newspapers, TV and radio across the state, including the Chicago Tribune, State Journal Register and Daily Herald among others. Dozens of organizations signed up to become active partners of Rx for Illinois. Nearly 500,000 Illinoisans signed up for programs offering free or discounted medicines. In addition, the program has saved residents more than $5 million on prescription medications. The best news: the Partnership for Prescription Assistance launched on a national level following the Illinois program