Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Manag Care. 2001 Sep;7(9):861-7.

A benefit-based copay for prescription drugs: patient contribution based on total benefits, not drug acquisition cost.

Author information

Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Several managerial mechanisms have been used by managed care organizations to affect prescription drug utilization and related expenditures. Some efforts have focused on monitoring clinical conditions, drug use, and compliance, whereas other efforts have focused on consumer cost sharing and changing product-mix. Efforts focusing on improving quality of care by identifying untreated patients or by enhancing compliance can lead to appropriately increased drug costs, although perhaps with reduced overall medical expenditures. In contrast, the mechanisms implemented to constrain drug costs raise concerns regarding missed opportunities to enhance clinical outcomes, and the possibility of higher medical expenditures. Cost sharing plays a critical role in defining the pharmaceutical benefit. To balance the demands for access to pharmaceuticals with pressures to constrain costs, levels of cost sharing must be set in a manner that achieves appropriate clinical and financial outcomes. Modern multitier systems often base patient contributions on drug acquisition cost, and often do not consider medical necessity as a coverage criterion. Using an alternative approach, the benefit-based copay, patient contributions are based on the potential for clinical benefit, taking into consideration the patient's clinical condition. For any given drug, patients with a high potential benefit would have lower copays than patients with a low potential benefit. Implementation of such a system would provide a financial incentive for individuals to prioritize their out-of-pocket drug expenditures based on the value of their medications, not their price.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Managed Care & Healthcare Communications, LLC
Loading ...
Support Center