Financial Assistance Programs Increase Adherence to Oral Oncology Drugs

Jan 12, 2016
Financial assistance programs help lower-income populations achieve greater medication adherence.
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  • Cancer

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Financial assistance programs provide eligible patients with financial assistance for medications that would otherwise be cost-prohibitive. Without these critical programs, the cost impact of specialty medication may lead some patients to forego treatment.

Our research found that participation in financial assistance programs may increase medication adherence for patients taking oral oncology medications.

The Study

Accredo began proactively offering financial assistance programs to patients with cancer in 2014.  These programs may be funded by manufacturers or offered through foundations or other organizations, cost nothing to payers, and do not affect the drug price charged to patients who do not qualify for the program. These programs can provide a critical safety net for patients in need.

We studied patients who had been taking oral oncology medications since the first of quarter 2014. The study compared medication adherence rates of those who enrolled in a financial assistance program in 2015 to adherence rates of patients that did not enroll. The patients were matched using demographic information and zip code level census data to determine average household income of the study group and the control group.

The Results

Patients enrolled in a financial assistance program experienced, on average, an 8% increase in medication adherence – a jump in average adherence from 83% to 92% from 2014 to 2015. Adherence for those not enrolled in a program decreased on average 2%, from 90% to 88% from 2014 to 2015.

When we analyzed census data, we found that the average median earnings for those utilizing a financial assistance program was $29,381.22, about 19% lower than the $36,222.39 average median income for patients not enrolled.

While there was a greater increase in adherence for patients in a financial assistance programs, the original adherence of those not involved was higher. This suggests that these programs provide needed financial assistance that can help this lower-income population achieve the same adherence rates as patients not enrolled.

The Accredo Difference

During 2015, the Accredo Copay Assistance team helped secure $364 million in financial assistance for patients, which includes an average of $13,000 in financial assistance per eligible oncology patient.

Financial assistance programs typically are funded by manufacturers or foundations, cost nothing to payers, and do not affect the drug price charged to patients who do not qualify.

Copay assistance helps patients afford critical specialty medications and through increased treatment adherence, helps them achieve healthier outcomes.

Author Bio

Lab Staff
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