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Pharmaceuticals companies' medication assistance programs: potentially useful but too burdensome to use
Quantitative Health Sciences Publications and Presentations
  • Maria Pisu, University of Alabama
  • Joshua Richman, University of Alabama
  • Jeroan J. Allison, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • O. Dale Williams, University of Alabama
  • Catarina I. Kiefe, University of Massachusetts Medical School
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Quantitative Health Sciences
Publication Date
Document Type
Chi-Square Distribution; *Consumer Satisfaction; *Drug Costs; Drug Industry; Humans; Logistic Models; *Medical Assistance; Medically Uninsured; Myocardial Infarction; Pharmaceutical Preparations; *Physicians; Questionnaires; United States

OBJECTIVES: This study examined how physicians perceive pharmaceutical companies' medication assistance programs (MAPs).

METHODS: The study was conducted using a survey of 373 primary care physicians from four southern states; they were surveyed within the formative evaluation phase of a larger study (MI-Plus). Respondents were queried about use and usefulness of MAPs for patients who cannot afford drugs, and barriers to using them. Bivariate associations between physician-level variables (patients without drug coverage) and usefulness and barriers to using MAPs were assessed using Chi square tests. Independence of associations was assessed using multiple logistic regressions.

RESULTS: Of the 364 (97.6%) respondents who used MAPs, 70% used them regularly, the rest occasionally; 63% found MAPs very useful in caring for patients who could not afford drugs. About 89% reported one or more barriers to using MAPs; 47% saw "inability of patients to apply directly;" and 57% saw "enrollment process being time-consuming for staff" as barriers. Compared to physicians with fewer elderly patients without drug coverage, those with more of these patients were less likely to find MAPs very useful; less likely to report no barriers to using MAPs; and more likely to see "low income thresholds" and "inability of patients to apply directly" as barriers.

CONCLUSION: While MAPs are considered useful in caring for patients in need of assistance, there are many barriers to their use. Pharmaceutical companies should address these barriers. Limitations include a low response rate (about 10%).

DOI of Published Version
South Med J. 2009 Feb;102(2):139-44. Link to article on publisher's site
PubMed ID
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
Citation Information
Maria Pisu, Joshua Richman, Jeroan J. Allison, O. Dale Williams, et al.. "Pharmaceuticals companies' medication assistance programs: potentially useful but too burdensome to use" Vol. 102 Iss. 2 (2009) ISSN: 0038-4348 (Linking)
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