Catalyst - FALL 2021 VOL 4 NO 2 - Page 13




Can you tell us a little bit about MedBank and its mission?

How did you all get started?

It started back in 1992 at the Health Department as a service for seniors who had Medicare, but at that time there was no part D so it really didn't make any sense. You could go to the doctor, but you had to pay for your medicine. I can remember my parents being in that situation - not really getting a huge Social Security check, but $300 a month had to come out of that for medicine.

Medbank grew because it was not only seniors that needed prescription assistance. We live in Georgia, and there is no Medicaid for people who are not pregnant or disabled. We we've got tons of free clinics, but there's no free medicine. Medbank expanded to the point where it included everyone who was uninsured, and in the last couple of years, we've even expanded to those who are insured, but the co-pays on the medication create a hardship. I work with people who have insurance, and a few years back, their insulin required $45 copays. Those copays are $245 now. When I tell people about this, and some people are knowledgeable, they'll say, well, Walmart has insulin for $25. That's not suited for every diabetic - some are long acting, some are short acting, and come from different sources.

An Interview with Pat Edwards, Executive Director

So (insulin) may be available for some people, but across the board, that $25 insulin is not applicable to everyone. If you've got a medicine that works well for your situation, that's what you want, and if we can get it from the drug companies for free. Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca; they all have patient assistance programs, and the general public just doesn't know about it. You just have to apply. It's a lot of paperwork, a lot of documentation, a lot of proof of income, which is what our case specialists do. They can't provide every medicine, but some medicines free directly from the drug companies.

Video courtesy of MedBank Foundation