3. Breaking Down Barriers: An Interview with Peyton Howell

This episode features an interview with Peyton Howell discussing the evolution of patient access over the past three decades, the creation of the hub industry, and the continuing challenges faced by pharma companies and service providers in supporting patient access to medications.

Podcast: Prescription for Better Access

Episode: Ep 3

Welcome to Prescription for Better Access, a new interview-focused podcast brought to you by two healthcare industry veterans aimed to help shape the future of patient access and affordability! In this episode, co-hosts Mark Hansan and Dr. Scott Howell interview Peyton Howell, an early leader in the industry, about the evolution of patient access, the hub industry and where things are headed in terms of patient access. 

To begin, Peyton shares about her career background. She has always loved the healthcare field and worked in hospital administration to pay her way through college. While earning a Masters Degree in health administration at Ohio State University, she had the opportunity to work directly with the COO of the hospital on projects related to patient access. Thus, she was offered an early view into how to correct treatment therapies and improve patient access. After grad school she focused on the consulting side, helping hospitals and sites. She was approached by office administrators to join in on the creation of Lash Group, a practice group focused on the pharma industry.

Peyton sold Lash Group in 1998 during the early stages of her career. At AmerisourceBergen, she had the opportunity to grow the business for nearly a decade and was able to buy other access-related consulting businesses. Here, she was able to see the whole cycle of access from pharmaceutical treatments to how they work on all sides of care. Then, she was approached to work in clinical trials at Parexel, where she is now the COO. Among the major launches Peyton has played a role in, she highlights her very first one related to cystic fibrosis. She also touches on a project at Lash Group which created an explosive group and created a new model of looking holistically at patients rather than just at free drug programs.

The first launches of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis are where the industry began to see the real challenges with payers in terms of prior authorization, certificates of medical necessity and other barriers delaying accessibility to care. This changed everything in terms of how to support patients and the new required investments of pharma companies. Looking back on her career, Peyton feels that those urgent moments are the ones she is most proud of. 20 years ago, she never would have guessed that there would be as many challenges for patients as we see today. As an industry, we need to get patients more comfortable talking about these hurdles to make people aware that they are not alone in facing them.

Payton is credited with coming up with the term “hub industry”, which is critically important for the launch of new healthcare products. It is all about efficiently removing barriers for patients and sites. Building on that, she shares her perspective on the evolution of the hub industry over the years. Today, there are so many more pieces to the puzzle and challenges to overcome than there were in decades past. Additionally, it doesn’t help that healthcare is still a very conservative industry.

Shifting gears, Peyton explains how various legislation and the government has influenced the industry overall. All of the OIG opinions that were intended to be helpful, she has found, were sometimes just more confusing for pharma companies to interpret and rely upon. We see that in the limits on the type of support pharma sponsors will typically provide. This makes the patient experience redundant, frustrating and confusing. Another major change driver has been the consolidation of major industry players, which we are seeing even more of now with vertical consolidation. Peyton’s main areas of concern are the consolidation of players and PBMs.

Next, Payton unpacks her perspective on the state of the industry today and the obstacles we are currently facing. What attracted her to clinical trials in the first place, she reveals, is the opportunity to put more of the evidence towards the next wave of breakthrough products. The only way to truly take costs out of the system is to let the data show us where it is not helping us. Before wrapping up, Peyton shares her own advice for the future of the podcast and the areas she might like to hear discussed in the future. Her desire is that things are made simple for the average family to understand how to navigate the system. Peyton, identifies the areas which make her feel hopeful about the future. The interest and awareness we are currently seeing are the major factors contributing to this hopefulness. In closing, she shares her own prescription for better access. We should all be better educated consumers for ourselves and for those patients who don’t have a voice of their own.


1:14 – Introduction to today’s episode.

2:55 – Peyton’s journey in the healthcare field.

5:15 – Peyton’s time at AmerisourceBergen.

7:20 – The early career launches which stand out for Peyton.

9:37 – The evolution of biologics.

15:30 – The history of the hub industry.

20:33 – How legislation and the government has influenced the overall industry.

22:19 – The consolidation of major players.

23:23 – What are we seeing in the industry today?

26:02 – Peyton’s advice for the future of the podcast.

27:42 – How copays have evolved.

32:47 – Areas of hope in the industry today.

34:!9 – Peyton’s prescription for better access.


Learn more about Dr. Scott Howell.

Learn more about Mark Hansan.

Comments or suggestions for Mark or Scott: comments@prescriptionforbetteraccess.com

Learn more about Peyton Howell.

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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.


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Questions or comments?

Email us at comments@prescriptionforbetteraccess.com.

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

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