As pharma companies increasingly invest in the development of biologics, it’s important to incorporate full service support and adherence programs into go to market strategies.
Great patient support and adherence programs enhance and often drive improved patient quality and length of life. If patients find therapies too expensive, complex or invasive they are not likely to adhere to their medication regimen.
Cost remains a large factor in patient adherence. Unfortunately, out-of-pocket costs for biologics are so high that it is adversely impacting adherence, persistence, and outcomes.
In one biologics study that excluded physician-administered agents, the probability that a patient would remain on therapy at the end of 1 year dropped from 57% for patients with out-of-pocket costs below $50 per week to 32% for those who paid more than $50 per week. 1 The medications and the catastrophic conditions that biologics treat are difficult to manage and require more attention.
But cost isn’t the only factor.
Patient misinformation and lack of understanding of either their disease or their treatment is a major contributor to non-adherence.Simply put, the more a patient knows about his disease and medications, the more likely he is to adhere to treatment.
For complex therapies like most biologics, skilled health professionals can help patients understand how treatments work and how to use them. They are best positioned to discuss possible side effects with patients — including if/when to call a physician. Making them aware of what is expected of their treatment in this way helps to put patients at ease.
Patient support and adherence programs that provide this type of empathetic, high-quality and customized support, while utilizing multi-channel technologies to communicate with the patients in their channel of choice are a smart approach to adherence. And considering the previously mentioned high cost of biologics, these programs should be standard practice for companies selling biologics.
Bottom line….when you are planning to launch, re-launch or have a new indication one of the first things to think about is how you are going to support you patient populations.