Becca Chaffin
Sr. Specialist, Digital Marketing

You’ve heard it time and time again: healthcare is changing.

But what does that mean for both life sciences and patients alike?

The global COVID-19 pandemic accelerated patients’ needs for telemedicine, remote monitoring, and improved support. Advancements in these technologies have shifted the focus within the life science industry from physician- and product-centric to patient-centric. With this paradigm shift came various “beyond-the-pill” offerings: patient services, copay assistance, disease education, and loyalty programs, to name a few.

In an increasingly competitive market, these programs have become undifferentiated at best; at worst, these programs are being disregarded and unused by the patient populations they intend to support.  According to this post from Fierce Pharma, “Pharma companies spend more than $5 billion on patient support programs every year, but when it comes to uptake, only 3% of patients are actually using them.”1

With so many offerings on the market, patients now have the ability to choose how they want their healthcare to be delivered. Is your support offering providing value to patients or could it be adding to the noise?

Check out our blog post here to see what “the noise” in healthcare looks like.

Here are our top 5 reasons why your support program may be adding to the noise:

Your patient population doesn’t know about your brand’s offering.

If patients don’t know about it, they can’t use it. And if they don’t use it, what’s the point in offering it?  

Unfamiliarity and lack of awareness are the primary reasons that patients aren’t using available support programs, with less than a quarter of patients from claiming they were familiar with PSPs.2 

Patients should be able to easily access the resources available to them. Your PSP shouldn’t be a hyperlink at the bottom of your brand’s landing page. The awareness stage in the conversion funnel begins with market research to learn the wants and needs of your patient population. Our biggest tip: don’t skip steps to quicken your launch into market!  

According to this survey, 86% of patients have never used an available patient support program for their medication.


n = 6,404

Based on Phreesia's 2021 Survey on Expanding Awareness of Patient Support Programs

You "rinse-and-repeat" support programs for different patient populations.

Different conditions require different support. While reusing a pre-existing structure for support programs may hasten your time to market, it could also leave detrimental gaps for patients.  

Specialty drugs make up the largest proportion of new drug launches over the past five years, with specialty spending per patient doubling from 2010 to 2020.3  With more specialized products, patients require further education outside the clinic walls. Consider offering condition-specific education, resources, and content to patients so they feel equipped with the knowledge to both understand and manage their condition long-term.

Your offering doesn't provide financial assistance.

The majority of drug price increases occur in January or July of each year. Although this price increase is something we’ve come to expect, the rate of inflation has continued to steadily rise. Between July 2021 and June 2022, over 1,200 drug prices increased an average of 31.6%–nearly four times the average inflation rate of 8.5% for drug costs.4 

In an effort to lower prescription drug costs for individuals with Medicare, the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law in August 2022.5  This act will require the federal government to negotiate prices for some of the highest spend drugs and also require drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if the prices continue to rise faster than inflation. But provisions from the act won’t start until 2025, and patients–whether they’re enrolled in Medicare or not–need assistance now 

When some patients may be forced to choose between prescription medication and their cost of living, providing some form of financial and/or copay assistance could be the deciding factor on agreeing to a new treatment plan.  

You aren't addressing your patients holistically.

Successful patient support programs are doing more than going beyond-the-pill, they’re also going beyond-the-dollar. While financial factors may be commonly addressed by PSPs, the ability to provide support goes far beyond cost-savings.  

Before individuals can focus on refilling a prescription, they may need to coordinate transportation, take off work, source food, or find childcare. These nonmedical factors play a huge role in health outcomes for any patient population. Offering comprehensive, wraparound services can drive patients toward better overall health outcomes beyond-the-pill.  

Your support is only provided via Artificial Intelligence.

“Hello, PATIENT. Did you schedule your appointment? Y for yes, N for no. Type STOP to opt out.” Sound familiar?

AI and chatbots provide life sciences with a tool to ensure patients are scheduling follow-ups and picking up prescriptions. What these tools add in efficiency and automation, they deeply lack in insights, empathy, and understanding. Providing your patient population with support in the form of human interactions can greatly increase brand trust, provide deeper insights, and creates immense value.  


The patient experience should be at the forefront of decision-making when it comes to support programs. While launching a support program is far from easy, we’ve learned to keep it simple: address your patients’ needs comprehensively, with a human touch. 

Pack Health is an evidence-based patient engagement platform that helps change health behaviors to close gaps in care and improve outcomes. Members are matched with a dedicated, national-board certified Health Advisor who helps address their needs holistically, ranging from condition education to barriers and social determinants.  


  1. Bulik B. Pharmas‘ return on $5B spent yearly on patient support programs? Only 3% are using them: Survey. Fierce Pharma. Published July 6, 2021. Accessed February 16, 2023. 
  2. Phreesia Life Sciences. Industry Perspectives on Patient Support Programs. Industry Perspectives. Published 2021. Accessed February 16, 2023.
  3. IQVIA. The Use of Medicines in the U.S. Spending and Usage Trends and Outlook to 2025. Published 2021. Accessed February 16, 2023.  
  4. Bosworth A., Sheingold, S., Finegold K., De Lew N., Sommers B. Price Increases for Prescription Drugs, 2016-2022. ASPE (Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation), Office of Health Policy. Published September 30, 2022. Accessed February 16, 2023.
  5. 117th Congress. H.R.5376 – Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Published September 2021. Accessed February 16, 2023.

Pack Health is not intended to substitute for medical advice provided by a person’s treating healthcare provider and is not intended to practice of medicine. Pack Health is intended to be an aid for people to gain insights into ways to help improve their general health and well-being. Only a person’s healthcare professional should diagnose and treat their patients based on the provider’s clinical assessment, education and training. This service should not be used as a substitute for a person’s healthcare provider.