How manufacturers can hit the pill-plus trifecta

Rich Trezza
Rich Trezza

Rich Trezza
General manager,  Ogilvy CommonHealth Payer Marketing

Having an effective drug is not enough in today's marketplace. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have been compelled to develop offerings that deliver value beyond the pill, such as patient support programs, physician information webinars, and co-pay cards.  These are known in the industry as “pill-plus programs,” offering brand value beyond the drug itself.

The newest “big idea” gaining momentum for healthcare delivery models is Triple Aim. Conceived by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Triple Aim refers to implementing standards for accomplishing three tasks at once: improving population health, improving the patient experience of care, and reducing per-capita costs.

Traditional versions of pill-plus programs took a siloed approach. But as customers use Triple Aim as an approach to drive healthcare quality, manufacturers will need to develop integrated offerings that address these three goals. Let's review how pill-plus programs fit into each component of Triple Aim.

Improving population health. Accountable care organizations and other population managers are responsible for the health outcomes of their patient populations. Pharmaceutical manufacturers can support population health by disseminating clinical data that is transparent, comparative or identifies both responders and nonresponders.

Improving the patient experience. When a drug works, patients are encouraged by the results, and this may have a positive impact on adherence. Improvements in health and in the patient's perception of his/her care (i.e., experience) ensue. Manufacturers can leverage multiple media to give patients important information about the drug, and promote adherence.

Reducing per-capita costs. Significant debate exists on how to best measure per-capita costs, growth in costs, or anticipated future costs. While the recommendations above will go far  toward advancing clinical and financial goals, manufacturers can develop one-, three- or five-year time horizons for studies that show improved outcomes.

To address the diverse needs of customers, pharmaceutical manufacturers should consider developing pill-plus programs. They help differentiate and support the overall value proposition for their brands.