Prescription for Better Access

Welcome to the Prescription for Better Access Podcast

The current drug payment process and the undue burden on patients is unsustainable. Two industry veterans have joined forces to interview key stakeholders to discuss today’s challenges and explore new ideas, technologies, and innovative solutions to improve patient access and affordability of medicines.

Recent Episodes

February 27, 2024

15. Biosimilar’s Role in Improving Patient Access

Biosimilars are entering the market at their fastest pace ever. In this episode, we interview a renowned health economist and an expert consultant in biosimilar distribution and patient support to explore the complex landscape of biosimilars, including examining the hurdles and breakthroughs in achieving acceptance by payers and providers and how best to improve patient access and affordability in a market dominated by established brands.

Dr. Jason Shafrin, Senior Managing Director, Center for Healthcare Economics and Policy at FTI Consulting

Marina Allen, SVP, Fingerpaint Market Access, Patient Support & Access Strategy Leader in Pharma-Biotech


The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009

PBMs (Pharmacy Benefit Managers)

Medicare Advantage

Humira (biosimilars)

340B program

Inflation Reduction Act

Medicare Part D

“brown bagging and white bagging”

Mark Cuban (CostPlusDrugs)


average sales price (ASP)

electronic health record (EHR) system

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January 30, 2024

14. 2024 Policy Preview: An Interview with Dr. Mark McClellan

Scott and Mark welcome Dr. Mark McClellan, a distinguished health policy expert who has served as the Commissioner of the FDA and the Administrator of CMS, to look ahead at the major policy activities in 2024. They discuss how the government’s role as regulator and purchaser of drugs will influence the drug industry and the patient’s ability to access and afford medicines this year. They also discuss the challenges and opportunities for improving public health and the emerging role of artificial intelligence.

Dr. Mark McClellan, PhD, Director and Professor of Business, Medicine and Policy at the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University


Medicare Part D

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs)

Medicare Advantage

FDA commissioner Rob Califf

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) Part B

Medicare Modernization Act


FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Per Member Per Month (PMPM) billing

Questions or comments?
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December 22, 2023

13. The Sustainability of Innovation: An Interview with Rachel King, CEO, BIO

In our 2023 podcasts, there have been a series of revelations about the complexity and unintended consequences related to drug access and affordability. This episode explores the essential underlying tension between the notion that affordability and access are deteriorating while science is advancing so rapidly. We interview Rachel King, CEO of Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), to explore the priorities for the industry and how the challenges related to patient access and affordability could jeopardize innovation for patients today and in the future.

Rachel King, CEO, BIO (Biotechnology Innovation Organization) 

John Crowley, Executive Chairman, Amicus Therapeutics

James Robinson PhD, MPH, Chair, Health Policy and Management Division, Berkeley School of Public Health

The Inflation Reduction Act

Orphan Drug Act

Orphan Cures Act

PBM (pharmacy benefit management)

Medicare Part D

Step Therapy

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Therapies mentioned in this episode:

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November 17, 2023

12: How Alternative Funding Programs Exploit Patient Assistance Programs

In this episode, we investigate the rise of Alternative Funding Programs (AFPs) that bypass coverage for vital specialty drugs.  Kyle Crowell, an expert consultant on AFPs, discusses how payers avoid their responsibility for costs by collaborating with third-party companies to exclude specific drug coverage and directing patients towards manufacturer-sponsored patient assistance programs (PAPs).  Patient advocate, Amy Niles from the PAN Foundation, describes how the mounting tension caused by AFPs are leaving patients to navigate the uncertain waters of their medication coverage and access, potentially risking their health and even their lives.

Kyle Crowell, Principal (Partner) at ZS Associates

Amy Niles, Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, PAN Foundation

Patient Assistance programs (PAPs)

Alternative funding programs (AFPs)

“AFP Caution For Patients”

“Pharma faces tough choices as alternative funding programs exploit charitable giving”

Medicare Part D

“AbbVie sues a behind-the-scenes company for exploiting its patient assistance program”

Federal Trade Commission

Carl Schmidt from the HIV and Hepatitis Policy Institute

Copay Accumulator Adjustment Programs Lawsuit

Like this episode and want to hear more? Listen to past episodes here!

Do you have a prescription for better access? Share your comments and episode ideas with us at:

Find us on social media! We’re on X as @RX4BetterAccess, LinkedIn and YouTube.


October 17, 2023

11. Obesity Week 2023: An Interview with Dr. Angela Fitch, President, OMA

Patients are experiencing remarkable weight loss thanks to the new generation of GLP-1’s and the downstream health benefits may go well beyond diabetes. In spite of the dramatic results for patients, insurance plans have started to put up more barriers and are even denying the drugs on a more consistent basis. For this special Obesity Week 2023 episode, we interview Dr. Angela Fitch, President of the Obesity Medicine Association, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and most recently a Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer for knownwell, a new obesity-focused primary care company.

Show Notes:

Dr. Angela Fitch, President, OMA

Obesity Week

Obesity Medical Association

Dr. Fitch’s patient care center: Knownwell

Seeking treatment for obesity? Find a clinician here or here.

The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2023

The drugs discussed in this episode:

An article on the use of “bootlegged” Semaglitude: Demand Rising for ‘Bootlegged’ Weight-Loss Drug | MedPage Today

Questions or comments?

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Find us on social media! We’re on X as @RX4BetterAccess, LinkedIn and YouTube.

October 3, 2023

10: Empowering Employers to Improve Patient Access

Employers are discovering this fall that they are expected to shoulder a 6% health insurance increase for 2024. What can employers do to combat the accelerating cost of health insurance without jeopardizing access to vital drugs? In this podcast episode, we talk with Matt Ohrt, a former HR executive who achieved a 20% reduction in health insurance costs for his employer. Matt has a new book and new company to help other self-funded employers strategically lower their sponsored health insurance costs for 2024 while ensuring employees have optimal access to care and treatments. This is an essential listen for employers seeking to balance cost-efficiency with the provision of comprehensive, high-quality healthcare benefits to their employees.

August 10, 2023

9. Physician Offices: Fighting for Patient Access

Many of the most beneficial therapies are prescribed or administered within physician offices yet these providers face a multitude of challenges attempting to get authorization and coverage. In this podcast, we interview a practice manager who is not only on the frontlines of the battle to help patients but is also an award-winning advocate for access. This episode will explore the barriers faced by providers and their offices and what can be done to win the day-to-day battles with insurance companies and PBM’s so patients can access and remain on treatment.

July 6, 2023

8. Washington’s Influence on Patient Access

This episode delves into the intricate web of Washington’s influence on patient access, exploring the multifaceted factors that shape healthcare legislation, policies and their impact on patients, other key stakeholders and drug pricing. With an insightful interview from one of Washington’s top healthcare experts, listeners gain insight to the complexities of legislation, such as the Affordable Care Act and Inflation Reduction Act. This is certainly the “wonkiest” podcast episode as we attempt to provide an understanding of the current landscape of patient access and look ahead to how Washington’s decisions will shape the future of patient access.

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