How One Health Plan Enlisted Pharma Sales Reps To Bring Down Costs

by Alicia Caramencio

July 11, 2017

Rising prescription drug costs hurt everyone – from patients who cannot access treatments to consumers who pay higher premiums. Health plans across the country are working with physicians, pharmacists, and other stakeholders to find real solutions this problem so patients can afford to get the care they need.

Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan (CDPHP) in Albany, N.Y., has turned to a surprising partner: former pharmaceutical sales reps. The health plan has hired salespeople who used to work for pharma companies so they can educate doctors about cheaper alternatives to expensive medicines. And it’s working, Kaiser Health News reported: CDPHP reps saved $10 million during the first year after educating providers about cost-effective versions of cholesterol drug Lipitor and acid reflux medication Nexium. While cutting CDPHP’s drug costs, the approach also benefits patients, as much of the savings come from copays and are passed on to members.

CDPHP CEO Dr. John Bennett sat down at the 2017 AHIP Institute & Expo to talk about how his organization is helping providers and patients better understand the value and effectiveness of different treatment approaches: