Copay Utilization Continues to Increase Amid Pandemic


Specialty Pharmacy Continuum magazine writer, Gina Shaw, published this article after hearing Chris Dowd (EVP for Market Development at ConnectiveRx) deliver trends from original prescriber data during the Coupon & Copay 2021 conference. For more information about the data, reach out to

By Gina Shaw
Manufacturer copay coupon program utilization continued to grow during 2020 and into 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said Chris Dowd, the executive vice president for market and product development with ConnectiveRx, at Informa Connect’s 2021 annual Coupon & Copay Forum.

“Last year, patients’ out-of-pocket exposure on prescription drugs totaled approximately $91 billion, with copay coupons offsetting $14 billion of that for a total net exposure of $77 billion,” Mr. Dowd said, citing data adapted from IQVIA’s “Use of Medicines in the United States” report issued in May 2021.

Providers say these coupons are important to their patients’ care. In a September 2021 survey of more than 1,000 health care professionals in the Physicians’ Desk Reference network, which is now part of ConnectiveRx, more than 70% either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that copay coupons encourage patients to stay on their medications. A similar percentage agreed that copay programs help them prescribe when managed care is restrictive.

The perception that copay programs encourage adherence is growing, Mr. Dowd said, citing two separate ConnectiveRx surveys conducted in 2019 and 2020. In the copay affordability survey of 310 prescribers conducted in October 2019, 65% agreed or strongly agreed that copay coupons boost adherence; in a larger survey of 1,049 prescribers on the impact of COVID-19 on prescribing, conducted in September 2021, 70% agreed.

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