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PAN to Now Provide Co-payment Assistance for Patients with Diabetic Macular Edema


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 9, 2011– The Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation has expanded its fund coverage to offer co-payment assistance to underinsured patients with Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). This new offering is made possible through an expansion of one of PAN’s 31 existing disease funds to cover out-of-pocket treatment expenses for DME in addition to age-related macular degeneration. This expanded fund will now be called the Macular Diseases Fund.

“With diabetes now affecting about 1 in 10 Americans and on the rise, we are proud and thankful to be able to expand the fund to address this critical need and help diabetics hold onto the gift of vision,” said Pat McKercher, PAN's President. “The patients accessing this fund may have had to make very difficult decisions between things like buying groceries or paying for their treatment without the fund’s assistance.”

Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness in the United States, and DME contributes greatly to this vision loss. DME develops in about 6 percent of Type 1 diabetics and 4 percent of Type 2 diabetics. It occurs when fluid and protein deposits collect on or under the macula of the eye, a yellow central area of the retina, causing it to thicken and swell. The swelling may distort a person's central vision as the macula is near the center of the retina at the back of the eyeball. For more information on Diabetic Macular Edema, visit the American Diabetes Association website.

To qualify for assistance under this fund, patients must have health insurance, have a household income that is at or less than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and be receiving treatment for DME. Patients can start the application process online at www.PANfoundation.org or by calling 1-866-316-PANF (7263).

About PAN Foundation

PAN’s 31 existing disease funds cover conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer and colorectal cancer. PAN provides grants of $1,500 to $10,000 per year to qualified patients to help pay for medications for these diseases. Since 2004, PAN has provided more than $165 million in assistance for out-of-pocket expenses to more than 120,000 patients in need. For more information about the Patient Access Network Foundation, visit www.PANfoundation.org.