SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s one of two programs around the state, and it’s right here in Sacramento at the UC Davis Medical Center.
The Specialty Program launched six years ago to help monitor transplant patients and help them afford medical treatment. The program has expanded in the last two years to help other patients with high-cost prescriptions.
“This little baby is gonna save my life,” said Linda Martinez, motioning to her prescription bag.
For the first time since being diagnosed with Hepatitis C 22 years ago, Martinez is now getting treatment.
“I feel so blessed,” said Martinez.
Martinez was diagnosed in 1994 after using a dirty needle to feed her heroin addiction. Since then, she hasn’t been able afford the anti-viral drug she needs to cure her Hepatitis C.
That all changed when Martinez came to UC Davis.
A team of pharmacists began working with Martinez in 2015 to help her get treatment under the program.
They helped Martinez apply for a grant, which now covers her 12-thousand dollar treatment over the next three months.
“There was no way I would have been able to pay. I would have just had to live day by day until I died.”
“It’s a consuming thing to do, but highly rewarding,” said John Grubbs, the head of pharmacy operations at UC Davis.
He says the program has helped thousands of patients like Martinez afford treatment.
“Some co-pays are thousands of dollars and most can’t afford that,” Grubbs said.
The program is made up of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who also keep tabs on their patients during treatment — much like doctors — to ensure treatment is actually working.
Anxious to start the journey of recovery, Martinez says she now feels hope — two decades after her diagnosis.
“For the first time I fell asleep in peace.”
Martinez will begin her treatment after Thanksgiving.
The program at UC Davis has helped 5,000 patients over the last six years.
Click here for additional information on the specialty program at UC Davis.