Why Brands should not be tracking patient script abandonment

Written by Al Kenney on 20 February 2017. Posted in Co-Pay Program Optimization


Many brands are tracking script abandonment monthly and trying very hard to get their numbers reduced thinking that is the way they can gain incremental business. While that seems like a sound strategy, it isn’t because of two very big factors: E-prescribing, and High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP’s).  Due to these two factors, your baseline number is increasing every year.  

As I explained in an earlier article, as the industry moves more to the digital age and more and more scripts are delivered via the e-prescribing channel, you will see your abandonment rates increase. This is because even though you might think that delivering your coupon electronically is more efficient it isn’t because the offer is actually delivered in a seldom used notes field which the pharmacist needs to identify and process (it’s not automatically loading the offer for the patient). So while it’s virtually impossible for a pharmacist to miss the physical card the patient provides with their script, it’s easy to miss the e-prescribing version which increases “perceived” abandonment.    

The HDHP’s are playing games with your managed care coverage. In the old days (not too long ago) it was easy to say you had tier 2 coverage across the country. You can’t say that anymore because of HDHP’s. These plans are proliferating the USA and driving down your perceived coverage numbers in a big way! So maybe 40% of those patients who you thought have a $50 copay actually don’t and this is driving up abandonment rates because patients are looking at higher out of pocket costs every year.

So, if somehow your boss has your bonus tied in any way to the abandonment measure you are in for a real uphill battle. You need to quickly find some other KPI by which you can be judged!