Wiggins Rotary Helps Elderly Pay For High Cost Drugs

As Congress is trying to figure out how to make medicines more affordable, some local people are making it happen. The air waves of a Stone County radio station broadcast a message of compassion to its listeners on Tuesday.

For one day each year, members of the Wiggins Rotary Club take over WIGG AM. These "trial by fire" D.J.s, are doing more than spinning tunes. They're raising thousands of dollars for senior citizens who can't afford prescription drug prices.

Pharmacist Simon Wilson held out a bottle of diabetes medicine with a price tag of more than $100 for a month's supply. He told me how over the years mounting prescription drug prices have put more of his customers in a difficult situation.

"It's harder and harder for them to afford," said Wilson. "Some of the medications that are coming out now are really, really expensive."

Members of the Wiggins Rotary Club say public support has kept "Rotary on the Radio Day" alive for the past 15 years. Every penny pledged during the 12 hour broadcast goes to help senior citizens pay for their medications.

"The calls that we've gotten... are from individuals who just call in and say 'I want to give $20. I want to give $25.' We appreciate every one of them. Every one is important," rotary member Buster Stringfellow said.

The medication is paid for using a voucher system. Wilson says he's seen the difference the Rotary project makes in people's lives.

"They are very very thankful," he said. "A lot people would have to go without their medications if they didn't have that assistance."

The Wiggins Rotary Club will hold a golf tournament later this year as a second fundraiser. Members say the two events usually bring in about $25,000.

By the way, the people the club helps are referred to them by the Department of Health and Human Services.