AstraZeneca has announced that the company provided $769.6m in savings to 507,475 patients in 2009 through its specialised prescription saving programme AZ&Me.

Last year, 13% more patients benefited from AZ&Me than in the previous year with patients filling out 3.8 million prescriptions through the programme, a 20% increase in the number of prescriptions filled over 2008.

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP US president Rich Fante said that last year was particularly difficult for many Americans who faced tough economic conditions.

“Our prescription savings programme responded to this growing demand for support by providing necessary medicines to patients in need,” Fante said.

AstraZeneca expanded its prescription savings programme last year to extend assistance to qualifying patients who recently lost their jobs, had their incomes reduced, or experienced a change in marital status or family size.