The Exceptions Process and its Effect on Patients

Amanda Forys, MSPH: If you said this to a payer, and they said, “That’s what the exceptions process is for,” comment on that a little bit. What does that mean for a patient to go through an exceptions process, what’s the timeline, what’s the stress, what’s the burden of paperwork and evidence that they have to give to the payer?

Christy M. Gamble, JD, DrPH, MPH: For the patient, it’s “Do I really want to go through all of this? I just want access to my medication. I don’t want to have to go through this process of filling out paperwork and talking with my provider, my provider is frustrated, I’m even more so frustrated because I don’t understand what’s going on.”

Like I said, for low-income patients and populations of color, who are not really familiar with these therapies, they’re just going to be really frustrated and say, “Just give me the drug that’s going to take away my frustrations and anxiety.” They tend to go with the outdated therapies, unfortunately, that don’t treat their disease states as effectively as these new therapies. So, [it is a] very frustrating process and one that most people will just give up and move on to the easiest route—like I said, the 5 As of accessibility—and that’s cutting off their access and creating another barrier that they’re not willing to jump over.

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