The impact of patient assistance on access, medication adherence and quality of life

In our daily work, we see firsthand the transformative power of patient assistance. Last year, we conducted a survey of 1,459 patients who received PAN Foundation grants to learn more about how patient assistance impacts their healthcare journey and overall well-being.

The most convincing evidence that these programs bolster access to treatment comes directly from patients, their families and their healthcare providers. Here are a few key insights from the results of our survey:

1. Assistance from charitable foundations helps patients stay on their course of treatment as prescribed.

Without financial support, high out-of-pocket costs frequently prevent people from adhering to medically necessary treatments. We found that 54 percent of low-income patients had skipped or cut doses of their medication prior to receiving assistance from PAN because they couldn’t afford to take the full dose.

After receiving financial assistance, 93 percent of patients said they were much more likely to take their medications as prescribed. Healthcare providers and pharmacists agreed with their patients: more than 80 percent said that financial assistance makes it more likely that patients will take their medications as prescribed and improve their health.

2. Financial support reduces stress and offers hope to patients and their families.

Charitable assistance has positive ripple effects. Nine out of ten patients who received support from PAN said that it improved their quality of life and decreased stress for the entire family. Additionally, 84 percent of patients surveyed reported that financial assistance increased their ability to manage other expenses. Patients also expressed that the support they received from PAN provided them with hope that their health would improve.  

3. The need for patient assistance is urgent and ongoing.

Even with financial support from charitable foundations, patients continue to face challenges paying for critical medical treatment. We discovered that 83 percent of grant recipients had ongoing concerns about finances and 40 percent were worried about keeping their job while managing their illness. Four out of five patients said their out-of-pocket medical expenses were higher than expected and only 10 percent of patients were confident that they would be able to cover the cost of their treatment.

Until policies are enacted that ensure access to needed treatments, patient assistance programs will continue to play a critical role in the healthcare safety net.

For a detailed report of the survey’s findings, read the full brief here