Empowering the Patient with Better Price Information

Dave Ricks Headshot - cropToday’s post comes from Dave Ricks, Lilly’s chairman and CEO and the chair of PhRMA’s federal committee.

At a time when patients are shouldering more of the cost of their medicines, they need better information about their out-of-pocket costs—before they head to the pharmacy.

That’s why the biopharmaceutical companies in the PhRMA trade association committed today to use our direct-to-consumer (DTC) television ads to point consumers to additional information about the cost of the advertised medicine. The information will include details like the list price, the estimated or average out-of-pocket cost paid by patients, and available patient assistance programs or coupons.

I’m proud that Lilly and our PhRMA peers are committing to increased transparency with these new DTC principles. Through new research, we know that the information patients care most about is how much they need to pay out of pocket, along with other context about their cost of their medicine. Our commitment will leverage the power of DTC advertising to help patients find the information they want and need.

Industry’s Journey to Improving the System
As the chair of PhRMA’s federal committee, I work with our industry peers to create a health care system that works better for patients, including advocating for policies to address misaligned incentives in the supply chain, ensure patients benefit from negotiated rebates at the pharmacy and promote value-driven health care.

Today’s announcement of new resources for patients complement steps our industry has taken to help the U.S. health system feel less opaque.

At Lilly, we implemented the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center this summer, which has already helped more than 2,500 people who have trouble paying for Lilly insulin get personalized solutions.

New PhRMA resources for patients
Another piece of today’s announcement is an expansion of PhRMA’s efforts to help patients find assistance programs that can help them afford their medicines. PhRMA will create one central affordability hub, which will provide price, cost and patient assistance information to both uninsured and underinsured patients.

This tool will build on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), which PhRMA launched in 2005. The PPA was started to help underinsured patients. But over the past decade, health insurance benefits have changed dramatically, with patients facing higher deductibles and more out-of-pocket responsibility. Because costs have been shifted to consumers, there are some patients who have health insurance but still can’t afford their medicines.

With this in mind, PhRMA’s new affordability hub will help both uninsured and underinsured patients find information about affording their medicines. The resource will provide help navigating insurance, estimated out-of-pocket costs, and access to traditional pricing details, along with information on available co-pay assistance programs.

Collectively, these resources will help patients see the full story on the cost of their medicines.

What’s next?
PhRMA companies have committed to implement these changes by April 15. At Lilly, we are trying to start even sooner—because patients are waiting.

While greater transparency is one step forward, we need to accelerate our work to lower the out-of-pocket costs for medicine at the pharmacy counter. We know many Americans who pay for insurance or are eligible for a federal program still struggle to pay for their medicine. We are committed to working with stakeholders across the health care system to find more solutions.