As I reflect on decades of service in the healthcare industry, access and affordability have risen as two of the most troubling issues facing far too many Americans.
The work of the PAN Foundation and similar charities illustrates that every day, high out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications have become an insurmountable barrier to access for patients.
A 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation poll of Americans who take prescription drugs discovered that more than a quarter of those surveyed found their medications difficult to afford. Additionally, 1 in 3 people did not take their medications as prescribed due to cost, including skipping doses, cutting pills in half or not filling their prescription at all.
The percentage of Americans who have insurance but who cannot afford their out-of-pocket costs is rising—and it is reducing access and adherence to treatment for the most financially vulnerable among us.
Currently, charitable foundations like PAN are often the only place people can turn for financial assistance so that they can begin and stay on life-saving treatment. This is especially true for Medicare beneficiaries. Providing this important safety net is at the heart of PAN’s mission. In the last 15 years, PAN has assisted nearly one million Americans, who otherwise would not be able to afford their medications.
In 2018, I was proud to collaborate with my fellow board members on developing an ambitious strategic plan for the PAN Foundation. We have set the course for the next three years, focusing our efforts on two vital objectives:
As we have done for 15 years, PAN will continue to increase financial assistance and support services for underinsured individuals living with life-threatening, chronic and rare diseases who cannot afford their healthcare out-of-pocket costs.
PAN will expand its advocacy efforts to educate and drive policy and legislative change to reduce out-of-pocket costs for individuals living with life-threatening, chronic and rare diseases.
While I assumed the role of Chair on January 1, 2019, I have had the honor to serve on the Board for more than four years. In that time, I came to know and admire Don Barone, DO, who recently completed his second three-year term on the Board and served as Chair between 2016 and 2018.
Under his leadership, we completed our recent strategic planning process. As a physician and patient advocate, Dr. Barone truly understands the growing challenges impeding Americans’ access to care. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors of the PAN Foundation, we are thankful for his contributions.
In the year ahead, I look forward to working with PAN’s leadership team to ensure that we are doing everything we can to meet the growing needs of people with high out-of-pocket costs, and to advocate on their behalf.
Martin A. Bieber, Chair
PAN Foundation Board of Directors
See the full Board of Directors here.