Mar 4, 2013, TNN[ Rupali Mukherjee ]
Globally, patient financing companies like Springstone and Medicard bear the cost of a patient’s treatment including surgeries, procedures and even pharma prescriptions, ranging from $2,000 to $40,000.
MUMBAI: Soon you will be able to finance the purchase of prescription medication. With healthcare costs going through the roof and exorbitantly-priced medicines making treatment inaccessible for many, companies are trying to reach out to patients and provide options of convenient monthly payments.
These companies include patient financing start-ups which will provide options so patients don’t delay expensive treatments and have access to medication through a customised repayment plan — an affordable alternative to personal loans and credit cards.
Globally, patient financing companies like Springstone and Medicard bear the cost of a patient’s treatment including surgeries, procedures and even pharma prescriptions, ranging from $2,000 to $40,000. Healthcare financing start-up Mya Health Credit will soon offer loans to patients for financing prescriptions.
Mya Health Credit’s founder Manish Menda says, “we are in talks with domestic pharma companies and will soon be rolling out the financing of pharma prescriptions over Rs 75,000 for a tenure of 12, 18 or 24 months. We will also offer financing of medical devices—used by the consumer, like hearing aids or pacemakers as their costs add up to over a lakh or so.”
Though the company is still working out the finer details, it has tied-up with Tata Finance which will provide ‘loans’ for purchasing medicines after appropriate verification checks. Hitesh Gajaria, partner KPMG, said: “This is a way of deepening the market and increasing accessibility by offering customised loans for healthcare. Patient financing is a niche area and India is a huge unserved market.”
The pay-as-you-go approach is a great model for countries like India where there is no reimbursement system and expenditure on health is largely out-of-pocket, industry experts say. In US, pharma expenses are about 8-15% of total healthcare cost while in India it may go as high as 60% in therapies. Pharma company Biogen Idec offers two critical medicines, meant for multiple sclerosis patients at half the cost, and is exploring finance options through a public-private partnership where it can part-finance the treatment, says the company’s MD Sameer Savkur.
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