Overcoming Medication Affordability Barriers in Egypt Using an On-Time Access to Treatment Model

29th May, 2024

Situation

In Egypt, a significant percentage of patients face challenges in affording their prescribed medication. In addition, while some lack the financial means entirely, others, despite their ability to cover costs over time, struggle to access upfront funds to initiate treatment. This issue is particularly important for life-threatening diseases where rapid treatment initiation is critical, demanding urgent solutions to ensure uninterrupted treatment access.

Solution

To address the affordability challenge, Axios developed a cost-sharing patient assistance program where several parties work together to cover the cost of treatment. Patients undergo a financial assessment using our proprietary Patient Financial Eligibility Tool (PFET) to determine how much support they need to cover the cost of their full treatment course. Financial support is provided by pharmaceutical companies and charities across the region, and patients pay the remainder of the cost, based on their ability to pay. However, while the cost of treatment decreased significantly for the patient, Axios quickly realized that cash flow remained an issue.

As a result, Axios devised an innovative, patient-centric access model called ‘on-time access to treatment’ that provides a credit line to facilitate treatment initiation. Unlike conventional short-term financing or microfinancing initiatives, the model provides a zero-interest credit line that is made available to all patients, including those who may not be eligible for a traditional loan. The credit line is made possible through fundraising initiatives and contributions from international charities and other partners that are pooled into a revolving fund strictly managed according to local legal and compliance regulations and requirements.

Overcoming Medication Affordability Barriers in Egypt Using an On-Time Access to Treatment Model

Based on each patient’s financial evaluation results, a personalized plan is developed outlining how much support a patient will receive to cover the cost of their full treatment course, and a detailed schedule for paying back any additional funds dispersed to the patient’s pharmacy to help the patient initiate treatment promptly. Patients repay the borrowed funds through installments, replenishing the fund. Installments must be paid to release the next round of medication, helping to drive ownership and ensure program sustainability.

In select cases, Axios utilizes the Axios+ digital health suite to enhance the patient experience – making it easier for patients to keep track of their medications and payment plan via the MyHealth app. In addition, physicians can more easily refer and monitor patient progress via the MyPatients app and the MyPharmacy app helps pharmacists to seamlessly dispense medications to patients enrolled in an Axios-managed programs.

Axios is responsible for assessing the patient’s financial eligibility, developing a personalized support plan with payment installments, and managing the fund according to predefined control measures and in alignment with local regulations. Currently, Axios manages programs using the ‘on-time access to treatment’ model on behalf of several multinational pharmaceutical companies in Egypt, encompassing a portfolio of seven products in the oncology, hematology, rheumatology, and pulmonology therapeutic areas.

Results

Overcoming Medication Affordability Barriers in Egypt Using an On-Time Access to Treatment Model

The ‘on-time access to treatment’ model has successfully overcome key access barriers for patients in Egypt:

  • High physician and patient acceptance: Once the ‘on-time access to treatment’ model was introduced, program referral rates increased by 80% – from 483 patients in 2021 to 2,410 in May 2024. In addition, enrollment rates have more than doubled from 272 enrolled patients in 2021 to 1,419 in 2024.
  • Expedited treatment initiation: Patients enrolled in the program are able to get their medication within one week of program enrollment.
  • Low payment deviation: Few patients miss their installment payments with an average annual deviation rate below 6%.
  • Maximized adherence to treatment: As financial barriers decreased, patients were less likely to drop out of the program and discontinue treatment, with many staying on treatment for an average of 17 months, compared to 5-7 months without an access program.

By utilizing an ‘on-time access to treatment’ model, pharmaceutical companies are now able to reach more patients with critical treatments in a financially sustainable and cost-effective way, despite potential cash flow challenges faced by the patient. Given the program’s success in Egypt, similar models are now being applied in Kenya, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

To explore the ‘on-time access to treatment’ model, contact axios@axiosint.com or egypt@axiosint.com