Survey uncovers patient desire for support services from pharma manufacturers

March 2, 2020

Human Care Systems announced the findings of its Pharmaceutical Patient Experience Survey, which surveyed 1,000 patients with chronic or complex conditions on one or more medications. The survey aimed to uncover how patients perceive and manage their medication regimens, the obstacles they run into during initiation, adherence and persistence of treatment, and the types of support they need along the way.

Six out of 10 adults in the U.S. manage a chronic medical condition. The survey, which was completed by patients with chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, showed that people experience various difficulties around initiating and taking their medications.

For example, 17 percent cited side effects as the main barrier, and 8.5 percent of patients cited picking their ability to pick up their prescription or receive packages as their main barrier to adherence. These hurdles often lead to various forms of non-adherence behaviors like rationing dosages or skipping dosages. Lack of adherence is estimated to cause around 125,000 deaths in the United States annually, costing the healthcare system up to $289 billion a year.

Over half of respondents (57 percent) believe that pharma companies should offer patient support services, and 63 percent, or nearly two out of three people with complex or chronic conditions, say that they would opt into such services. That number climbs even higher with patients managing serious chronic conditions like cancer (73 percent) or lupus (86 percent). The more serious the health condition, the greater patients desire support from the manufacturer of their medication. While there is significant interest for pharma-driven support, patients are often unaware of the resources manufacturers provide. The survey results indicate 80 percent of respondents are unaware of the patient support services offered by drug manufacturers.

The survey revealed that patients prefer and require a mix of communication channels that fit their individual condition and lifestyle to stay the course of their treatment. Some 38 percent of respondents shared that they would prefer a phone call from a nurse or nurse educator who is an expert in their case or condition and 32 percent prefer an email with relevant information about their medication and living with their condition. The remaining 30 percent prefer a different digital channel including texts, video chat, or click-to-chat. The type of communication desired also varies by condition as 47 percent of cancer patients would prefer to communicate about their medication via digital communication channels. Other studies investigating effectiveness of non-adherence interventions show that the most effective approach to improving medication adherence combines several channels and strategies into one integrated experience.

Human Care Systems has the story.