(1) The *administrator shall establish and advertise a pharmacy connection program through which health care providers and members of the public can obtain information about manufacturer-sponsored prescription drug assistance programs. The *administrator shall ensure that the program has staff available who can assist persons in procuring free or discounted medications from manufacturer-sponsored prescription drug assistance programs by:
(a) Determining whether an assistance program is offered for the needed drug or drugs;
(b) Evaluating the likelihood of a person obtaining drugs from an assistance program under the guidelines formulated;
(c) Assisting persons with the application and enrollment in an assistance program;
(d) Coordinating and assisting physicians and others authorized to prescribe medications with communications, including applications, made on behalf of a person to a participating manufacturer to obtain approval of the person in an assistance program; and
(e) Working with participating manufacturers to simplify the system whereby eligible persons access drug assistance programs, including development of a single application form and uniform enrollment process.
(2) Notice regarding the pharmacy connection program shall initially target senior citizens, but the program shall be available to anyone, and shall include a toll-free telephone number, available during regular business hours, that may be used to obtain information.
(3) The *administrator may apply for and accept grants or gifts and may enter into interagency agreements or contracts with other state agencies or private organizations to assist with the implementation of this program including, but not limited to, contracts, gifts, or grants from pharmaceutical manufacturers to assist with the direct costs of the program.
(4) The *administrator shall notify pharmaceutical companies doing business in Washington of the pharmacy connection program. Any pharmaceutical company that does business in this state and that offers a pharmaceutical assistance program shall notify the *administrator of the existence of the program, the drugs covered by the program, and all information necessary to apply for assistance under the program.
(5) For purposes of this section, "manufacturer-sponsored prescription drug assistance program" means a program offered by a pharmaceutical company through which the company provides a drug or drugs to eligible persons at no charge or at a reduced cost. The term does not include the provision of a drug as part of a clinical trial.