Best Practices in Managing Atopic Dermatitis in Skin of Color - Episode 10

Cost and Access to AD Treatments

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Drs Noor and Bhatia have a conversation about cost and financial assistance from pharmaceutical companies.

Neal Bhatia, MD: Omar, here’s the big issue of cost. Here’s the uninsured patient or the waiting-to-be-insured patient. The diagnosis is established, and now we’re at age 12 where. Both upadacitinib and topical ruxolitinib are in play for the age group. We also talk about asthma and some other things. Putting all that into a bundle, where do you see a treatment flow or potential? In the ideal world, cost is 1 thing, but now we’re dealing with cost as a major issue.

Omar Noor, MD, FAAD: Cost is a very important discussion every day in my clinical practice. Whether you have insurance or you don’t, we want to make sure we’re treating you effectively but also responsibly, within the framework of what’s accessible. One thing we’ve been very lucky with is the amount that the pharmaceutical industry has put back into patient care. The pharmaceutical industry does well. There’s no question about it from a profit perspective, from a financial perspective. They provide great medications, and they get reimbursed accordingly. But something that goes unnoticed for the most part is how much they give back to patients who may not have access to the medications. If you’re ever in a situation where you have an underprivileged patient, or someone who doesn’t have insurance, who doesn’t make enough money, or who cannot even afford the co-pay for instance if they have insurance, the pharmaceutical industry will bend over backward to make sure the patient will get the medication that you feel is most appropriate for them. You just have to look into each pharmaceutical industry and fill out a little extra paperwork. If that’s the difference between getting someone better, then obviously that paperwork is well worth it.

Angela Lamb, MD: Absolutely.

Omar Noor, MD, FAAD: Put in a little paperwork administration effort on the back end, and you can find a way to get the appropriate medication for the appropriate patient.

Neal Bhatia, MD: That comes right into that whole conversation about cost of the system, or the cost of whatever else. Think of the cost of this poor kid not getting treated. Obviously, the asthma is getting worse, and so is the sleep and everything else that goes along with it. It goes right to your point, it’s on us to do that extra bit of labor, to fight for these patients, and to be their advocate. Because as you said, every drug company will have an avenue for getting these patients some access to the drug. It’s a matter of us looking under the hood and finding the way to that. That’s pivotal, the way you just described it.

Transcript Edited for Clarity