Treato Finds Patients Expect Discounts on High Cost Drugs

Healthcare Insights Company Examines Patients’ Attitudes Towards Costs Related to Xtandi, Ibrance and Xarelto

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 — Today Treato, the single largest source of online consumer insights on healthcare, announced the results of an analysis that indicates patients feel entitled to a drug discount program when prescribed a costly new drug and didn’t express gratitude towards the manufacturer covering the cost.  The Big Data analysis examined how patients were discussing costs related to Xtandi (prostate cancer) $9,682.80 for a 30 day treatment of the recommended four 40mg pills each day, Ibrance (breast cancer) $10,679.94 for the recommended treatment of one 125mg pill once a day for 21 days followed by seven days of no treatment and Xarelto (blood thinner), $360.11 for a 30 day treatment of one 20mg pill each day*.  These three drugs were selected for analysis since they have been making headlines recently for their significant costs to patients without insurance compared to other available older forms of therapy. 

The in-depth analysis by Treato also revealed that often patients did not see these programs as charities or donations.  If patients expressed any gratitude it was for the intermediaries (physicians, pharmacies, cancer centers, nurses, etc) who found these programs for them.  Conversations about Ibrance contained the highest percentage of references to discount programs (34 percent), followed by 20 percent for Xarelto conversations and 17 percent for Xtandi conversations.

Despite the high costs of cancer drugs Ibrance and Xtandi, patients rarely discussed searching for less costly alternatives.  Patients were determined to get the drugs that had been prescribed by their oncologists and didn’t appear interested in alternative therapies such as additional chemotherapy.  Only 1 percent of Ibrance discussions mentioned switching to a less costly alternative, followed by 4 percent of Xtandi discussions.  However, finding a less costly alternative was much more frequently discussed among patients seeking the blood thinner Xarelto for their blood clots as these conversations appeared in 23 percent of cost related online discussions.

Not surprisingly, patients often characterized the process of getting insurance providers to cover the drug as a “fight” and frequently expressed frustration with the way insurance providers often seemed to work against them.  Online discussions described insurance providers as a limited resource at best.  Discussions about obstacles to obtaining insurance coverage were present in a third of all drug cost related online conversations for these drugs.

“Drug discount programs have become a necessary expense when marketing a costly drug,” says Ido Hadari, CEO of Treato.   “Manufacturers need to partner with payers and providers to help market these discount programs.  With the industry becoming increasingly focused on value-based treatment, we expect to see changes in pricing models that reflect the concerns of patients and caregivers."

Find out more about Treato’s drug costs data analysis.

*The prices listed for these prescription medications are provided by OneRx before any insurance co-pays or drug discounts. 


TreatoVoice is a unique data asset that continuously collects and analyzes more than two and a half billion patient and caregiver conversations happening across the Internet in real-time to understand what patients are saying about their experiences with their conditions and treatments. For this analysis Treato collected and analyzed more than 191,000 online conversations about drug costs. For the qualitative component of this analysis Treato reviewed nearly 300 posts about Xtandi, Ibrance and Xarelto. 

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