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Published: September 10, 2014

Copay assistance brings affordable medication, like hepatitis c treatment to many patients


Pharmacy Staff 1


Anytime a patient is unable to afford necessary medications to treat medical conditions, it represents a tragic failure of our healthcare system. Making matters worse, even patients who thought they had adequately planned for healthcare expenses by enrolling in insurance plans can find themselves overwhelmed with expenses resulting from insurance copays for prescribed therapies. Too often, this burden prevents patients from complying with their treatment plans and forces them to choose between medications -- or even worse, go without any medication.

Many pharmaceutical manufacturers offer help covering medication expenses through copay assistance programs for newer branded and potentially more effective medications. Well known to patient advocates like pharmacists and social workers, the general public is largely unfamiliar with these programs and untold sums go unclaimed each year. Qualifying for copay assistance is typically simple and often not based on financial need; the primary hurdle in obtaining it is simply not knowing that it is available.

At Curant Health, we believe that pharmacists and other pharmacy professionals are in perfect positions to advocate for patients and that a large part of that responsibility is eliminating every barrier to treatment possible. That means not just locating all available copay assistance programs for patients, but helping them qualify to receive the benefits. As frontline healthcare professionals filling a key gap in the care continuum, pharmacy professionals have the expertise to understand how to complete application forms and face time with patients to explain the application process. Providers are often too pressed for time to help with this paperwork and are not always aware of every program offered.

Last year, Curant Health pharmacists and other pharmacy professionals helped patients realize over $1.5 million in out-of-pocket savings by enrolling them in copay assistance programs. This is particularly important for patients suffering from chronic disease states where therapy can be extremely expensive and adherence is vital to positive outcomes, such as the hepatitis c treatment. There has been much publicity surrounding the high price tag of hepatitis c treatment (HCV) Sovaldi®, but the medication has a superb cure rate for the disease with proper adherence to the regimen. At a market price of $1,000 per pill that adds up to an $84,000 overall treatment cost for most patients, a prescription for Solvadi® brings high out-of-pocket costs for most patients. But copay assistance from manufacturer Gilead can bring the monthly out-of-pocket cost down to $5 per month, or a total of $15 for the course of hepatitis c treatment for qualifying patients. This co-pay assistance program from Gilead illustrates how the cost barrier many patients face can be reduced.  With a diminished cost barrier there is a greater chance of patient adherence to the regimen and likelihood of a positive outcome which in the case of an hepatitis c treatment could mean the patient being cured of the disease.

The journey to positive healthcare outcomes is wrought with obstacles, and it is up to all healthcare professionals to help patients overcome them. We don’t think money should ever stand in the way of effective treatments and are happy to consult patients and clinicians on how to discover and qualify for the many copay assistance programs available from pharmaceutical manufacturers.

For more information on minimizing out-of-pocket medication expenses through copay assistance programs, contact Curant today.

Curant Health - (866)-437-8040

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