- The weak economy, coupled with the high cost of prescriptions, has forced some patients to cut back on their medications or to completely stop taking them.
- In an attempt to make their prescriptions more affordable, more and more patients are asking doctors for free samples.
- Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director for the Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, notes that patients "just can't afford" to take their medications and that they "show up with their hands out" for free drug samples.
- Free drug samples have become less available. One patient in the article is quoted as saying, "I used to see the salespeople coming in, dropping off samples and donuts. But they're not there as often now." The patient notes that she could not take the generic equivalent of the migraine drug, Topamax, because it made her sick - so she's stuck having to pay for the much more expensive brand name prescription.
- Instead of free drug samples, drug companies are offering free vouchers:
In the meantime, patients can keep asking for samples. But there are fewer samples to go around. Instead, drug companies are offering vouchers for discounted copays - a move Weintraub said dissuades doctors from hoarding samples for the particularly needy.
OptimizeRx's SampleMD software, which is integrated into major e-prescription systems, including the largest, Allscripts (MDRX), allows physicians to seamlessly provide drug manufacturer vouchers (i.e., coupons) simultaneously with an electronic prescription. Electronic prescriptions, according to some estimates, are expected to account for over 90% of all prescriptions within the next few years.
In addition to the major e-prescription providers, OptimizerRx is also targeting large health care systems (multi-hospital/clinic systems) for integration of SampleMD into their respective electronic medical records systems. OptimizeRx generates revenue from drug manufacturers every time a physician prints a respective manufacturer's voucher, as well as for every (printed) voucher that is redeemed by the patient.
We initiated coverage of OptimizeRx a few weeks ago with an Outperform rating and $5.00 price target.