Co-pay accumulator programs are the latest cost management initiative resulting from the constant push and pull between payers, pharmacy benefit managers, and manufacturers to reduce drug spend. However, despite intentions to mitigate the surging cost of care, these programs may also have unintended consequences that can negatively impact patients, according to Bruce Feinberg, DO, vice president and chief medical officer of Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions.

Feinberg explored both sides of the debate as to whether these tools are effective for managing costs or add barriers to patient access, in a session at Asembia Specialty Pharmacy Summit 2019.

“To understand the co-pay accumulator program, you really have to begin to understand the very delicate balance that has been going on now for 5 decades between those who pay for health care and those who provide the services and products that are being delivered to treat and provide health care,” Feinberg explained to the audience.

He noted that various iterations that have taken place in tweaking the health care system since the 1970s have had a huge impact on co-pay accumulator programs, especially the more recent shift toward high-deductible insurance plans. At the same time, drug prices have been markedly increasing with costlier therapies in emerging areas of precision medicine and small molecule agents.

A version of this article was originally published by Specialty Pharmacy Times. Visit for the full article.