Tag: financial assistance

08 May 2018

Patient Access = Patient Treatment

When medications exceed the financial resources of a patient, it can create a seemingly insurmountable barrier to accessing important treatment. It’s pretty hard to get better if you can’t fill (or refill) your prescribed medications. Here at BioPlus we spend a lot of time thinking about patient access to treatment, which is why we’ve long had a patient financial assistance program to help patients overcome financial roadblocks to their treatment.

Did you know that someone with cancer is 2.5 times more likely than another person from the general population to file for bankruptcy? This is how serious the financial challenges of a health crisis can be. It gets worse, though. When severe financial distress results in bankruptcy, that itself becomes a risk factor for worsened survival times. Although there is variation, based on the type of cancer a person has, about 3% of cancer patients end up bankrupt. These patients, in turn, are nearly 80% more likely to die than non-bankrupt cancer patients.

By now you’re probably getting the idea that research clearly connects the dots between the patient portion of the cost of medication and whether or not patients can start or refill their prescriptions. Furthermore, the connection between adherence and patient outcome is clearly known: non-adherent patients face worse health outcomes and greater disease complications. And, as you also probably know, we’re in the business of helping patients get better.

Our financial assistance department is a key part of our overall service of RxExpress – which makes BioPlus faster than most other specialty pharmacies for taking a prescription from hot-off-the-prescriber’s-pad to a patient’s hands. It all starts with our 2-Hour Patient Acceptance Guarantee that streamlines the first step of the specialty pharmacy process. Our 2-Day Ready 2 Ship program follows close behind, which gets prescriptions ready to ship in just two days. The financial assistance for our patients is an integral part of this entire process.

The financial assistance department at BioPlus assists and supports patients with ways to connect with financial resources, helping patients access foundation grants and co-pay assistance programs. Looking over the past year, for example, our financial assistance team connected patients with $35 million of financial assistance, which allowed many patients with financial barriers to be able to start and continue their important treatment. We’re aiming even higher this year.

Sources

Sharp L, O’Leary E, O’Ceilleachair A, Skally M, Hanly P. Financial impact of colorectal cancer and its consequences: associations between cancer-related financial stress and strain and health-related quality of life. Dis Colon Rectum 2018;61:27-35.

Ramsey SD, Bansal A, Fedorenko CR, et al. Financial insolvency as a risk factor for early mortality among patients with cancer. J Clin Oncol 2016;34(9):980-6.

Lathan CS, Cronin A, Tucker-Seeley R, et al. Association of financial strain with symptom burden and quality of life for patients with lung or colorectal cancer. J Clin Oncol 2016 JCO632232. [Epub ahead of print]

16 Jan 2018

Cost Concerns

The financial hardships of a serious illness can be daunting. Even for those with health insurance, the medical bills and pharmacy costs can accumulate, along with a potential loss of income while treating and recovering from a disease.

In a recent survey of nearly 500 people after successful colorectal cancer treatment, financial challenges were reported by four in 10 patients. This same proportion of people similarly noted that their concerns about home finances created stress, which of course piled on to the stress of facing cancer. These financial stressors correlated with a decrease in quality of life for patients.

Study after study shows that the financial burdens of treating serious health problems does in fact impact quality of life and even health outcomes. This financial burden – which is often referred to as financial toxicity – is a growing concern for patients and their families. In fact, patients may even delay treatment due to cost concerns. In one survey of 609 individuals with chronic hepatitis C, fully one-third were not currently being treated specifically due to cost concerns. This is unacceptable.

Overcoming financial challenges is one of the ways BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy supports our patients during the treatment process. Our patient financial assistance department works to ensure that financial barriers are overcome so patient treatment can both start and continue. In just three quarters of 2017 we connected oncology patients with $30 million in patient assistance, in the form of grants, co-pay assistance, and donations. We take our responsibility seriously in assisting and supporting patients with ways to connect with financial resources. In short, we aim to resolve financial toxicity issues while treating a patient’s disease.

Sources

Sharp L, O’Leary E, O’Ceilleachair A, Skally M, Hanly P. Financial impact of colorectal cancer and its consequences: associations between cancer-related financial stress and strain and health-related quality of life. Dis Colon Rectum 2018;61:27-35.

Survey: Hepatitis C patients delay treatment due to cost concerns. Health UnionOctober 4, 2017.