Co-Pay Legislation Support

Co-Pay Assistance Program Legislation Support

Issue Background:

Massachusetts was the only state in the nation that banned consumers from using co-pay assistance programs to help pay for their prescription drugs. Often, this forced patients to choose between the cost of the copayment for their life saving medications and other necessities. Legislation was filed, H.4200, which would have allowed pharmaceutical manufacturers to offer discounts that would offset insurance co-payments on medications.

Opportunity & Challenge:

The existing law was put in place back in the 1970s when most drug discount bans went into effect. Since Massachusetts is now a generic first state, patients are forced to switch to generics anyway, but for those who are on medication where there is no generic equivalent, the out-of-pocket costs were a burden and presented an access barrier.

Identifying and bringing together all relevant stakeholders to secure successful passage of this legislation required a strategic approach with ongoing management and focus.

Strategic Approach:

Our New England team identified and worked with key stakeholders to build, coordinate, and manage a coalition to advocate for access and affordability around prescription drug coverage and successful passage of S. 548 (aka Coupon Bill).

The patient advocacy coalition, MassRX.org, consisted of 45 members with partners ranging from traditional patient advocacy organizations to law enforcement trade organizations to multicultural national groups to independent pharmacists.

Impactful Advocacy Efforts:

• Patient Advocacy Days at the Massachusetts State House

• Face-to-face meetings and phone calls to key legislators from constituents

• Patient panels

• E-action Alerts

• Group letters of support

• Testimony, both in-person and/or written

• Patient profiles

• Position statements

• Social media pull-through of timely news articles and coalition updates

Compelling Public Affairs:

• Identified patient advocates supporting a multi-year public affairs media strategy focused on traditional and social media.

• Worked with advocates to share media placements using traditional and social media communication channels, such as web sites, newsletters, FaceBook, and Twitter.

Results:

A longstanding ban against the coupons in Massachusetts — the last state in the nation to prohibit them — was lifted. On July 8, 2012, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law H.4200, which makes appropriations for the state’s fiscal year 2013 budget, to now permit pharmaceutical manufacturers to offer co-pay assistance programs to Massachusetts residents.