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Does My Copay Program Generate a “Halo Effect”?

For years, many have asked whether there is a positive “halo” effect related to copay programs…and if so, where are the key areas of impact? Many have pointed to a variety of potential positive impact areas including:  

  • Impact on HCP’s writing
  • Impact on patient adherence
  • Impact of patient support reinforcement even if the patient is unable to utilize the discount

Although many believe in a “halo” effect, there has never been a major study done to quantify the true halo impact above and beyond what can be seen in claims data. We have seen presentations from some copay vendors indicating they believe that the impact can be an additional 100% of sales or more – I’d say that’s a reach, but I do believe there is a level of halo present with copay cards for the following:

  • Impact on HCP’s writing – Zitter Health Insights has done many studies where they question doctors about copay cards, and in every case, HCP’s say they like copay cards since they show that the company is both supporting their brand and helping patients reduce the expense of their therapy. In addition, having a copay card program provides the pharmaceutical sales rep with another tool and discussion topic to review with the physicians during their sales calls. This creates / maintains awareness for the brand and helps keep the brand top of mind. This is where I believe most of the halo impact is.
  • Impact on patient fills – Trial and adherence rates are higher for those patients using a copay card. I can directly attest to this fact based on our own internal analysis of many copay programs. I also believe that the fill rates are higher for patients who receive a card but are ineligible to receive the discount. At least one study has shown that when comparing patients who have the same copay OOP, the ones who get the copay card (but are ineligible to use the card) still fill at a higher rate than patients who don’t receive the card

I do believe there is a halo effect produced by these programs, but we can’t accurately quantify the value of the halo without conducting some very specific, long-term studies. That’s a long way off and will require a lot of time to dig into mountains of data. Until then you’ll just have to trust your instincts which say…yes there is a positive halo effect for copay programs!

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