Utilization patterns and associated costs of factor assistance programmes among persons with haemophilia: a single institution review


Miguel A. Escobar, MD, Gulf States Hemophilia & Thrombophilia Center, The University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston, 6655 Travis Street, Suite 400, Houston, TX 77030.
Tel.: 713 500 8360; fax: 713 500 8364;
e-mail: miguel.escobar@uth.tmc.edu


Summary.  Although individuals with haemophilia have benefited from advances and the availability of safe, effective factor replacement products, high treatment costs and insurance coverage limits remains a significant concern among persons with this disease. Many uninsured haemophiliacs turn to emergency rooms for treatment and/or patient assistance programmes for treatment of a bleed or injury. However, neither of these options is a sustainable solution for managing the care of patients with this costly disease. This study was conducted to examine the use of factor assistance programmes and estimate annual amounts of factor dispensed by each programme along with their associated costs. Retrospective review of pharmacy and medical record of all patients who attended the Gulf States Hemophilia and Thrombophilia Center, and who were enrolled in any factor assistance programme(s) between January 2007 and December 2010 was performed. During the 4-year observation period, approximately 19% of the centre’s haemophilia patient population was enrolled and received free factor products from at least one patient assistance programme. In addition, approximately 9.1 million dollars (US) worth of factor replacement therapy was donated to our patients during the study time. Although assistance programmes have helped many uninsured individuals with haemophilia to receive free factor products, they are not an enduring answer to the insurance problems many of our patients face. More effort needs to be focused on how to effectively manage uninsured persons with haemophilia to ensure that their health care and treatment needs are adequately met.