Amgen announced an increase in its funding to foundation sponsored patient assistance programs for 2005 to $18 million. The programs are designed to ensure access for patients with cancer or kidney disease who cannot afford co-payments for prescription drug therapies. The $18 million will be paid as grants to several independent, non-profit charitable foundations to assist patients. Each foundation will assess patients’ eligibility to receive co-payment assistance based upon their own independent criteria. Providers and patients who want information on what financial assistance programs are available should call Amgen’s Reimbursement Connection at 1-800-272-9376, to access a database of potential resources.