Optimizing Patient Outcomes with Prescription Discount Programs - Episode 4

Prescription Discount Programs: Patients with Improved Outcomes

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Examples of patient populations with improved medication adherence and savings achieved because of Prescription Discount Programs are discussed.

Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS:In terms of utilizing PDPs (prescription discount programs) as a tool in optimizing patient care, we talked a little bit about what patients we might recommend it for in terms of the business owners or the families, but do you have any specific examples where you have actually witnessed a patient having improvement from medication adherence or using a PDP?

Lisa King, RPh: I think, for me, 1 of the things that is so surprising is that patients often do not know exactly how much prescriptions cost. Often, patients who are in between jobs, or are facing that sort of situation, when I recommend the prescription discount program to them, they really have no idea what I am going to be telling them about the price. I can think of so many different occasions where I’ll say something like, “That’s going to be $18.00.” They’ll say, “Oh my gosh, $1,800.00.” I’ll then say, “$18.00.” They really, in their mind—they are thinking, “Okay, I had this $20 co-pay before,”—whatever it may be—and they are thinking about the worst case scenario regarding the cost of their medications because you hear so much about rising drug costs. I just love that surprise and when you can tell the patient the price and they are like “Okay; great.” That is wonderful. I can just even think of so many different occasions especially when I was working near a university where I was able to provide the patients—students from around the world—these prescription discount programs and have them be able to use them to get their prescriptions filled.

Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS:Yeah, I think—college students are a great example of patients who might not have prescription insurance or might be between insurances, whether they are on their parents’ insurance or they're from another country. That is personally when I have witnessed the benefit as well. I had a couple college students who came into the pharmacy who were needing travel vaccines as well. They were purchasing some other anti-malaria pills and different things like that. It really helped them because the cost went from 100s of dollars to less than $100.00 just for the anti-malarial medications since they were traveling out of the country. I definitely think they are another group of patients that would love to benefit from this and they could really use the extra savings. I mean I’ve seen them be able to take their medication because of this.

Lisa King, RPh: Yes.

Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS:They can go on the trip; they are able to go.

Lisa King, RPh: Exactly.

Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS:They are able to go away. What kind of savings have you seen? Have you seen a lot of savings, when you are thinking about numbers?

Lisa King, RPh: I have seen hundreds of dollars in savings. You know I have to just say that I am really super-grateful that, at the pharmacy where I worked at last, we really had so much time to be able to spend with patients and give them that extra care. I know a lot of pharmacists do not have time to compare prices, but where I was working—especially if a co-pay came up higher than we thought it would be—we were very aware of different prices on the different prescription discount programs. We would always compare prices for patients and get them the best price. I really think it really helped with that patient loyalty.

They knew, when they were coming to our pharmacy, that they were going to be getting the absolute best price on their prescription. It really just helped them to keep coming back and helped them to get to know us better, to trust us as pharmacists. I would see hundreds of dollars in savings. Then, on the other hand, I would have patients come to me saying, “I saw that this was this certain price on a prescription discount program,” but I would know that their co-pay may only be $5.00 on their health insurance. Patients really have to know to compare the prices. I was really just grateful that I was able to do that for them and have the time to be able to do that for them at my last location where I worked.

Transcript edited for clarity.