The “Help is Here Express” bus tour is scheduled to stop at the St. Joseph Center in Venice Monday, July 27th to help uninsured and financially-struggling community members access information on programs that provide prescription medicines for free or nearly free.

The bus tour is part of the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) — a nationwide effort sponsored by pharmaceutical research companies, raising awareness of patient assistance programs among residents who face layoffs or a loss of health care benefits in a struggling economy. Additionally, patients who visit the bus can also learn about new medicines in development to fight chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and asthma.

“At a time when national unemployment is the highest in almost two decades, the PPA has become an important lifeline for a growing number of patients,” Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America President and CEO Billy Tauzin said.

“Millions of Americans have been added to the jobless rolls over the last several months and there could be a sharp increase in the number of our citizens losing healthcare benefits.”

To date, the PPA has helped nearly six million patients, including more than 345,000 Californians. Since its launch in April 2005, the PPA bus tour has visited all 50 states and more than 2,500 cities to raise awareness about patient assistance programs.

The “Help is Here Express” is staffed by trained specialists able to quickly help uninsured patients in need access information on more than 475 patient assistance programs, including nearly 200 programs offered by pharmaceutical companies.

Patients can visit PPA’s Web site at or call the toll-free phone number (888) 4PPA-NOW for information.

The Help is Here Express bus is scheduled to stop from 9 to 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Center, 204 Hampton Drive, Venice.