Axios' MENA Director speaks to representatives from the Dubai Health Authority during the Patient Support event in June 2017. 

Axios' MENA Director speaks to representatives from the Dubai Health Authority during the Patient Support event in June 2017. 

UAE Patient Assistance Program

First program in the UAE to utilize an innovative cost-sharing and voucher methodology to increase access to specialty pharmaceuticals

Situation

In recent years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has witnessed rapidly increasing
demand for healthcare services. Despite rising healthcare spending in both the public and private sectors, some high-cost and specialty treatments remain unaffordable for a select number of patients.

To address this, a multinational pharmaceutical company initiated a shared payment access program to increase access to treatment for neurologic and ophthalmologic conditions. Since its inception in June 2012, the Program now also supports several additional medications for pulmonic, dermatologic, oncologic, endocrinologic and hematologic diseases. 

Solution 

Designed to help patients who are uninsured or facing reimbursement barriers, the Program is the first partial payment initiative in the UAE.  Enrolled patients pay for a certain number of treatment cycles each year according to their ability to pay and receive the rest of the treatment free-of-charge (FOC).

Axios is responsible for the design of the program and for ongoing patient and drug logistics management, serving as the main point of contact for physicians, patients and pharmacists.

To determine a patient’s ability to pay for treatment, Axios utilizes its validated Patient Financial Eligibility Tool (PFET). Unlike other tools, PFET aims to capture a complete picture of both formal and informal income sources by taking into consideration a combination of indicators, including income level, standards of living and assets. 

To extend the reach of the Program, Axios established partnerships with several local
charities and NGOs that are able to further support patients who are not able to pay their share of the treatment cost. These include Patient’s Friends Committee, Dar Al Ber Society, Al-Rahmah, Friends of Cancer Patients, Eamarat Al Khair, and the Alam and Amal Program. Axios also works closely with BinSina Pharmacy and City Pharmacy to distribute the FOC medications.

The program is supported by the Dubai Health Authority.

Results

Until November 2015, the program had focused primarily on uninsured patients. However, given the success of the program, the decision was made to extend its offerings to insured patients that face difficulties in paying their co-pay. To
address this problem, an additional financing mechanism was incorporated into the Program where vouchers are used to ease affordability or cash flow issues for insured patients. 

The Program currently reaches 1,000+ patients at more than 90 hospitals across
the UAE, many of whom are entering their fifth year of enrollment in the Program.

The program has also increased product sales by an average of 20-50% (depending on product).