McKesson and Physicians Interactive expand their e-coupon partnership

March 7, 2014

Service connects McKesson industry clients to PI's network of e-prescribing and EHRs

Building on what they call a successful partnership that begin in 2012, McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions (MPRS; Scottsdale, AZ) and Physicians Interactive (Reading, MA) are adding “Coupons on Demand,” a proprietary service, to their existing e-coupon relationship. The action expands the types and capabilities of e-coupons to be delivered to prescribers—sometimes at the point of prescribing—in the electronic health-record (EHR) systems now in growing use in doctors’ offices.

"We are excited to expand our partnership with MPRS to include the Coupons on Demand solution," said Donato Tramuto, CEO and Chairman of PI, in a statement. "As pharmaceutical companies' budgets are cut, sales teams are reduced and access to physicians becomes increasingly restricted, brands are finding it more challenging than ever to reach HCPs. Coupons on Demand addresses this challenge by allowing targeted, eligible HCPs to request cost-savings offers and adherence support for the prescription brands they prescribe — all from a single, convenient web-based source."

The availability of coupons has grown both in numbers of programs available, and in channels to distribute them. The practice, supported by pharma funding, is meeting with resistance from pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs), among others, but there are several hundred programs now in place. And while the traditional method of distributing coupons—a handout during a rep visit, along with samples—still exists, coupons are increasingly available in EHR systems, at retail pharmacies and online for the consumer. One of the added bonuses of the electronic distribution is to be able to collect data on redemptions, usage and location trends, according to Derek Rago, GM at MPRS. This information, in turn, helps support the patient-adherence programs that MPRS runs for client manufacturers.

MPRS also works with another McKesson business unit, Relay Health, in providing patient support services at the retail-pharmacy point of care. Yet another division of the company, McKesson Provider Technologies, is a leading player in the booming EHR field. Rago says that discussions are under way with that business unit and his. From an EHR perspective, the availability of e-coupon programs can be an asset in broadening the services available to the prescriber; on the other hand, some EHR systems are set up with a barrier to such services.