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Lessons from GoodRx’s “Guide to Successful Copay Programs”

To help with patient adherence and health outcomes, many pharmaceutical companies offer generous copay assistance to eligible patients on certain medications. A 2021 survey showed that pharma companies spend over five billion dollars annually on copay assistance and patient support programs in the U.S., yet only 3% of patients actually use them.¹ “Why the low usage? Lack of awareness is one clear factor—fewer than one-fourth (23%) of patients said they were extremely or very familiar with patient support programs, while another 18% said they were somewhat familiar.”² There is a lot of room for improvement, and GoodRx aims to help pharma manufacturers reach many more patients to take advantage of their existing programs and health education.

Low awareness of patient support programs limits utilization.

Source: Fierce Pharma.


While copay assistance programs may be familiar to those who work in pharma and other areas of healthcare, that’s far from the case for those consumers we need to reach and support: The people who have been prescribed the medications they need and may have difficulty affording them. GoodRx’s Pharma Manufacturer Solutions business unit partners with pharma companies to boost the reach, awareness, and utilization of their existing copay and patient support programs. With the help of industry experts, GoodRx developed the Guide to Successful Copay Programs to share what they learned to help deliver the greatest value to the greatest number of eligible patients.

Despite the growth of GoodRx, pharma copay assistance and patient support programs, and other drug assistance programs and charitable foundations, significant patient access and affordability issues have persisted. The pandemic, high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), sustained inflation, and health disparities have made things worse for most Americans. Additionally, the sheer complexity of retail and specialty drug access, cost-sharing, and affordability has increased for patients regardless of insurance status.

Reasons why respondents have not taken their medicine as prescribed due to costs.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll, March 15-22, 2022.


So much so that a 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation study found that “about three in ten adults report not taking their medicines as prescribed at some point in the past year because of the cost. This includes about one in six (18%) who report they have not filled a prescription, about one in five (21%) who took an over-the counter drug instead, and 13% who say they have cut pills in half or skipped a dose.”³

In speaking with copay experts, GoodRx researchers found that even if your current copay program aligns with the needs of patients and your brand, there are other factors marketers can influence that can dramatically increase a program’s reach and impact. The lessons they captured are detailed in the Guide to Successful Copay Programs that delivers the following content in easy-to-scan sections that address specific questions and challenges:

  • Understanding the patient-provider medication cost conversation
  • Why copay and financial assistance for patients is necessary
  • Who makes use of copay offers
  • Anatomy of a healthy copay assistance program
  • How to increase copay program awareness
  • Best practices to distribute your copay program to patients


If you are searching for ways to chalk up a few quick wins in 2023, look no further. Download the comprehensive, complimentary Guide to Successful Copay Programs, a new addition to the GoodRx Yellow Paper series that delivers actionable insights to pharma leaders.


¹ “Pharmas’ return on $5B spent yearly on patient support programs? Only 3% are using them: survey,” Fierce Pharma, July 6, 2021,

² Ibid.

³ Hamel, et al., Public Opinion on Prescription Drugs and Their Prices, Kaiser Family Foundation, April 5, 2022,” Fierce Pharma, July 6, 2021,

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