The Prescription Coupon Distribution Problem – Industry Perspectives from HIMSS 2019

While at HIMSS 2019, I asked a number of people I met with to provide some industry perspectives and insights. Basically, tell me something that I don’t know or tell us something that not enough people were talking about. I got a wide variety of perspectives and insights. This week we’ll be highlighting a series of four insights. Next up is a look at Prescription Coupons being integrated with EHR software.

The Prescription Coupon Distribution Problem
I’ve long been a fan of the wonderful Miriam Paramore and so I jumped at the chance to meet with her at HIMSS19. Miriam is now the President at OptimizeRx and she told a pretty compelling story about the distribution problem with prescription coupons.

Miriam told me that there were $7 billion worth of pharma co-pay coupons and that 90% of those go unused. That’s a lot of unused coupons and no doubt many of those coupons are unused since those who could use them don’t know about them. Unless the doctor or the pharmacy are providing the coupons, it’s unlikely that the patient is going to go searching for the coupons that could save them money. That’s why OptimizeRx’s seamless integration with EHR software at the point of prescription is so important. Not to mention automating delivery electronically to the pharmacist and/or patient (text or email).

While we know that generic drugs are popular, Miriam suggested that we’re starting to learn that brand drugs seem to work better for certain people and their specific chemistry. It’s still early in the analysis of this idea and is generally only discovered as doctors have the patient try the generic and the brand drug. It will be interesting to see how the studies evolve on this. Not to mention pharmacogenomics that could possibly tell us based on your genomics that the chemistry behind certain brand drugs might be better than a generic drug.

I’m still waiting for the science to fully develop on this, but it’s not hard to imagine a day where all your unique health data could indicate the need for a brand drug over a generic and vice versa. In those cases, you can see why having access to a co-pay coupon could be really valuable to a patient.

I’ll admit that I’m new to the pharma coupon world, but OptimizeRx seems well on its way to integrating these pharma coupons into the EHR. Is this a good or a bad thing for patients? Does this interrupt the physician workflow or is it a benefit to them to have it at their fingertips? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and on Twitter with @HealthcareScene.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.