Friday, August 18, 2023

Specialty Treatments in the New Age of Affordability

Today’s guest post is from Divya Iyer, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development, Pharma Manufacturer Solutions, at GoodRx.

Divya discusses the challenges patients face in accessing specialty therapies prescribed by their healthcare providers. She suggests how the pharma industry can leverage GoodRx to help patients with access and affordability.

Learn more about GoodRx’s insights and solutions for specialty treatments by downloading their free yellow paper: Access and Affordability Insights: Differences Across Specialties.

Read on for Divya’s insights.

Specialty Treatments in the New Age of Affordability
By Divya Iyer, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Pharma Manufacturer Solutions, GoodRx

As a mission-driven company and digital healthcare leader, GoodRx has helped patients obtain an estimated 80 million prescriptions they otherwise may not have been able to afford. We have been improving patient affordability for over a decade across generic and brand medications, including specialty treatments—sometimes by more than 50%. GoodRx is the leading platform with the highest unaided awareness and trust across patients, physicians, and pharmacists that Americans—regardless of insurance status—use across many phases of their healthcare journey. Our solutions enable pharma manufacturers to engage with providers and patients so they can start and stay on the right medication and improve their health outcomes.

A key goal is to minimize worries about out-of-pocket (OOP) costs and affordability in the decision-making process, so a provider can prescribe the most appropriate medication for their patient, and the patient is not forced to choose between groceries or medicine. However, as the use of specialty medicines continues to increase, we believe it’s time to take a fresh look at how our industry helps patients with access and affordability.

The uses—and costs—of specialty treatments keep rising.

A U.S. aging population, a rise in the net per capita spending on specialty drugs, an increased life expectancy (apart from the impact of COVID), and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases are expected to boost the specialty pharmaceuticals market to $352 billion by 2027, according to a recent forecast. And as reported by the IQVIA Institute, specialty drugs accounted for 55% of category spending, primarily driven by costs and growth in immunology and oncology therapies (Figure 1).

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Having worked in healthcare for almost two decades, I’ve seen firsthand that specialty brand drugs continue to have additional, more complex access and affordability barriers. Findings from a 2022 analysis from Surescripts show that insurance approval and distribution for specialty drugs can cause significant treatment delays up to three to four weeks for many patients. This has major implications due to the severity of the conditions that specialty drugs treat and the potential for untreated diseases worsening and progressing. Our aim at GoodRx is to reduce friction and increase transparency to enable patients to more quickly start and stay on specialty therapies as prescribed by their HCPs.

A recent GoodRx analysis across ten specialties (Figure 2) demonstrated that the larger the OOP cost gap between generic and branded drugs, the less likely patients were to fill their prescription—and the greater the opportunity to reduce abandonment rates by lowering costs for patients. These valuable insights can help pharmaceutical companies improve the design, distribution, and management of their copay assistance programs to align more closely with average patient OOP costs and the brand-generic gap in the therapy areas in which they market Rx medications.

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Specialty brands also benefit from the ‘GoodRx Effect.’

As a digital health pioneer, GoodRx has systematically cultivated extremely loyal and engaged provider and patient audiences over the past decade. We often say that our platform enables pharma brands across all specialties to “reach the audience they want at the scale they need,” across the entire health journey. This commitment to objectivity, close attention to health literacy and user experience, and breadth of topics and services across the healthcare journey is part of what has led our users to name GoodRx as their number one trusted digital health savings platform.

We continue to learn about the specialty needs of our audiences. For example, our user research uncovers the key pain points for patients and providers across top conditions on GoodRx like immunology, oncology, multiple sclerosis (MS), and women’s health, specifically fertility and osteoporosis. These users visit the 500+ drug pages on the GoodRx platform for products that are specially distributed or administered. Further, 2.9 million consumers have visited specialty drug pages on GoodRx, and patients taking a specialty treatment have almost double the number of medications in their basket than non-specialty users.

GoodRx’s increased specialty focus supports brands of any size.

Over the past 11 years GoodRx has gained unique insights about a range of specialties, including their similarities and differences when it comes to HCP behaviors and patient affordability. GoodRx solutions support a broad variety of specialty therapies, including vaccines, biologics and other targeted therapies, and medical diagnostics and devices.

GoodRx solutions can extend the reach of patient support and copay programs for pharma manufacturers that have existing specialty infrastructure, as well as deliver supplementary solutions—from awareness to access to adherence—for companies and brands that may not have a complete patient support ecosystem in place.

It’s clear that specialty-focused therapies will continue to grow, and GoodRx can be a valuable partner to pharma manufacturers in this space. Click here to learn more about how our insights and solutions for specialty can help your brand.

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