Pfizer Share Card Report to America Identifies Key Features of a Meaningful Prescription Drug Benefit For Low-Income Medicare Recipients

98% of Pfizer Share Card Members Satisfied with the Program. Simple Enrollment, Reasonable Fee, Free Health Information and Purchase of Medicines at Local Pharmacies Drive Positive Impact on Patient Health Behavior.

Washington, D.C. – June 16 – Pfizer Inc today unveiled a major study that shows overwhelming satisfaction with the Pfizer Share Card program and identifies key features of a meaningful benefit for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.

The Pfizer Share Card Report to America finds that an easy enrollment process, persistent public outreach, clear information on common health conditions, the ability to fill prescriptions at local pharmacies and a reasonable fee are critical components of a comprehensive benefit that can help improve patient health behaviors.

“We’ve learned that by offering low-income Medicare beneficiaries coverage that is simple, personal, understandable, predictable and reliable, we can make a real difference in their lives,” said Hank McKinnell, chairman and chief executive officer, Pfizer Inc. “With the help of the Pfizer Share Card, more people are getting the medicines prescribed by their doctors, completing their full course of treatment and refilling their prescriptions on time. That’s good news for the patients themselves and good news for the overall healthcare system.”

Launched in January of 2002 to address the lack of prescription drug coverage for low-income Medicare beneficiaries, the Pfizer Share Card has helped over 350,000 seniors and Americans with disabilities fill more than 2 million prescriptions through a network of over 51,000 independent pharmacies and chain drug stores located in urban and rural areas across America.

“Our experience confirms that improving access to the medicines physicians prescribe for their patients increases adherence with recommended treatment, which can enhance patient health and quality of life,” McKinnell added. “We have shown that you can do this by putting the patient’s health first, supporting the physician-patient relationship and ensuring that patients have access to the best available medicines. These are important learnings for Congress and the Administration as they consider legislative proposals to create a new prescription drug benefit under Medicare.”

The Report to America is based on the results of surveys of Pfizer Share Card members and eligible non-members conducted by the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion, as well as Pfizer Share Card program administrative data.

“Pfizer Share Card members are extremely satisfied with this benefit program,” said Lee Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion. “They like the easy enrollment process, the $15 fee, the free health information and the convenience of filling prescriptions at their local pharmacy. They are reporting important improvements in health behavior.”

The Marist surveys show that 98% of Pfizer Share Card members are satisfied with the program, 96% said it was easy to sign up, 93% said that $15 fee is about the right amount, 91% found the health information provided through the program helpful, and 99% said that it was valuable to be able to use the card at their local pharmacy.

“Seniors want a benefit that works for them close to home – at the local pharmacies where they most often buy their medicines,” said Craig Fuller, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores. “Patients look to the pharmacists as a trusted source of information about their health care needs.”

Importantly, the Marist study also demonstrates the impact of the Pfizer Share Card program on health behaviors. For example, 97% of Share Card members finished their full course of medication as prescribed, an increase of 21% prior to enrollment. Similarly, only 8% of enrollees delayed filling a prescription vs. 37% prior to enrollment.

The Report to America also documents Pfizer’s extensive efforts to reach the more than 4.2 million Americans eligible for the Pfizer Share Card. Pfizer uses paid media advertising, public relations campaigns and grassroots enrollment events to help get the word out to a population that proved very hard to reach. Pfizer also developed partnerships with over 25,000 senior organizations, social service agencies and health care providers to help build awareness of the Pfizer Share Card program.

“Until Congress adds a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, NCOA’s goal is to raise awareness of prescription savings programs that can help America’s seniors now,” said Jim Firman, President and CEO of the National Council on Aging. “Through our BenefitsCheckUp web site and outreach program, NCOA is collaborating with Pfizer and others to let seniors know about the Pfizer Share Card and other public and private programs that can help pay for prescription drugs.” The Report also cites the importance of simple, clear communications in enrolling patients and improving their understanding of health conditions that commonly impact older people. In keeping with Pfizer’s standards for clear health communication, all program materials are written at an appropriate reading level, include visuals to clarify key points and employ a conversational style with commonly used words.

“The doctor patient relationship is one of if not the most important aspects of healthcare”, says Dr. Sharon Allison Ottey, COSHAR Foundation. “The information on health conditions provided by the Pfizer Share Card helps facilitate a more meaningful conversation between the physician and the patient”.

The Report concludes that while the Pfizer Share Card is not a complete or permanent solution to the need for a Medicare prescription drug benefit, it is providing an important bridge for low-income beneficiaries who lack coverage.

The Pfizer for Living Share Card is a comprehensive prescription drug benefit program for Medicare enrolled low-income seniors and people with disabilities throughout the U.S. who lack prescription drug coverage and have the most difficulty accessing basic medical care. The program enables qualified Medicare beneficiaries to purchase up to a 30-day supply of most Pfizer medicines for $15 per prescription. In addition, Pfizer Share Card members have access to a 24-hour call center with live operators to guide them through the enrollment process and refer them to other health services and benefits, and to request free, easy-to-read health education materials on 16 common medical conditions. There is no enrollment fee, premium or deductible.

Category: Press Release