Medication non-adherence costs are skyrocketing. Approximately 50 percent of patients do not take their medication as prescribed, costing pharmaceutical companies an estimated $637 billion in revenue each year. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies are feeling pressure to differentiate themselves from the competition in the eyes of providers by offering value-based, “beyond-the-pill” services. In light of these trends, pharma companies are partnering with vendors and payers to deliver value and improve adherence.

Most of the large pharmaceutical companies are working with vendors to power their patient support programs. The programs aim to improve patient adherence and engagement for chronic conditions through education and support. While the various patient programs have similar goals, they seek to differentiate themselves with unique offerings. For example, for basic diabetes education, most pharma companies offer web and print content with topics ranging from blood glucose to nutrition and activity.

Since cost is a common barrier to patients staying on their medication, most companies include financial support, as well. Some patient support programs differentiate themselves by including an element of human support. These programs offer call centers, which give patients the ability to ask specific questions. Some pharma companies go to the next level, offering one-on-one coaching with certified diabetes educators, where patients can receive customized, educational and therapeutic support from a clinician. At the same time, some patient programs are incorporating a digital strategy with apps aimed at improving education and adherence. There are a variety of apps being offered through the programs; some have handy medication reminders, while others have the ability to track activity, food, and/or blood glucose meter data in order to drive insights.

We are also seeing a trend of pharma partnering with payers to improve patient health outcomes. This trend is partially motivated by providers asking for value-based services. An added benefit is that, by partnering with payers, pharma can access claims data which can allow them to target at-risk patients early. With groundbreaking pay-for-performance contracts emerging between pharmaceutical companies and payers, such as the recent agreement between Merck and Aetna for Januvia or Eli Lilly and Harvard Pilgrim for Trulicity, there has been a greater focus on improving patient outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction and reducing hospital readmissions. Aetna recently announced a partnership with Medtronic and is partnering with Johnson & Johnson/Animas, tying payments to diabetes patients’ A1C outcomes. Tech companies are also joining the diabetes landscape with Google, IBM Watson and sensor companies partnering to create predictive analytics solutions that capture blood glucose and adherence data in order to preemptively alert a patient when they might hit a low based on their historical trends.

Different stakeholders like pharmaceutical companies, payers, providers, and tech companies are collaborating to influence behavior change. In response to pressure from providers and payers, pharma companies are partnering with vendors to improve their patient support programs. With a focus on accelerating outcomes, there has also been a trend of data-sharing between pharma, payers and providers, which can help target those at-risk for complications and hospitalizations. By partnering with vendors offering cloud-based solutions, companies are making data accessible to patients and their providers, so that clinicians can intervene when necessary. As a result of these innovative partnerships, patients are receiving more personalized support when they need it, so that they can better manage their chronic conditions, stay adherent to their medication, and ultimately reduce the cost of care.