Prime Therapeutics study shows 4 in 10 specialty pharmacy members saved with copay coupons and patient assistance programs

Prime Therapeutics Specialty Pharmacy helped patients access discount programs to decrease medication costs

ST. PAUL, Minn., Oct. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Prime Therapeutics Specialty Pharmacy LLC helped 4 in 10 members save on their drug costs by informing them of copay coupon and patient assistance programs (PAP) and applying them to their prescriptions, according to new research presented by pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime). Prime is presenting the study at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)'s Nexus 2013 conference in San Antonio.

Copay coupons and PAPs are offered by pharmaceutical manufacturers to help patients defray the cost of drug treatments and help maintain member adherence. Copay coupons can be controversial for many medicines as there are low cost generic alternatives often available. This is not the case with specialty medicines.  With specialty medicines, coupons can be vitally important due to their high cost and lack of generic options. More than 370 drugs offer some form of payment assistance, and such discounts have been used with 13 percent of brand drugs. But little is known about these programs, since data on their use are frequently not collected by pharmacy benefit managers.

To determine the impact of discount programs, Prime reviewed pharmacy benefit prescriptions filled at Prime Therapeutics Specialty Pharmacy between January and June 2013. The data was then matched with available manufacturer coupon or PAP information. Prime found that of the $418 million spent on drugs during this time, members were responsible for 5.3 percent of costs ($22 million) overall. Coupons and PAP were applied to 4 in 10 prescriptions, helping offset $11 million in member costs over six months.

"Previous studies have shown high copays and out-of-pocket costs are associated with lower adherence," said Pat Gleason, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP, director of health outcomes for Prime. "Prime Therapeutics Specialty Pharmacy helped patients better manage these increasing costs – and potentially enhance adherence – by identifying copay coupon or PAP opportunities when appropriate as part of member services."

About Prime Therapeutics
Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime) helps people get the medicine they need to feel better and live well. Prime manages pharmacy benefits for health plans, employers, and government programs including Medicare and Medicaid. The company processes claims and delivers medicine to members, offering clinical services for people with complex medical conditions. Headquartered in St. Paul, Minn., Prime serves nearly 23 million people. It is collectively owned by 13 Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans, subsidiaries or affiliates of those plans. Prime has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. 

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SOURCE Prime Therapeutics