WASHINGTON — The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has kicked off “Share the Savings,” a new campaign to educate consumers about the lack of drug rebate pass-through for commercially insured patients with high deductibles and coinsurance.
PhRMA said a collection of advertisements will be featured in print, radio, digital and social channels throughout the year. The ads and promotion will run on a range of platforms in the District of Columbia and select states.
Negotiations between pharmaceutical companies and health plans lead to significant rebates and discounts, but these don’t filter down to consumers, PhRMA noted. The group said that, according to a recent study from the Berkeley Research Group, more than a third of the list price for branded drugs is rebated back to payers and the supply chain.
“We need to ensure patients receive more of the benefit of price negotiations between biopharmaceutical companies and payers,” stated Stephen Ubl, president and chief executive officer of PhRMA. “It is a problem that more and more Americans are being asked by their insurers to pay cost sharing based on undiscounted list prices, even though insurers may be receiving significant rebates.”
In contrast to care received at an in-network hospital or doctor’s office, negotiated discounts for medications aren’t shared with patients who have high deductibles or coinsurance. PhRMA said a new analysis from QuintilesIMS’ Amundsen Consulting revealed that more than half of commercially insured patients’ out-of-pocket spending for brand-name drugs is based on the full list price. The data also show that cost sharing for nearly one in five branded prescriptions is based on the list price.
“Providing access to discounted prices at the point-of-sale could dramatically lower patients’ out-of-pocket costs,” Ubl added.
Concerns about medication cost can impact health, the Amundsen Consulting analysis showed. Patients with high deductibles or coinsurance are less likely to take medicines as prescribed, putting them at higher risk for expensive emergency room visits, avoidable hospitalizations and poorer health outcomes. The analysis also found that prescriptions subject to a deductible were more than twice as likely to be abandoned at the pharmacy.