Rx Cost Series: To Improve Adherence, Lead with Affordability


With healthcare costs a top consumer concern, adherence can be a challenge. Here’s how pharma marketers can help educate audiences on cost-saving solutions well before the point of purchase. 

Are you helping your consumers understand how to save money on medications? Educating audiences about prescriptions, including guidance on cost-saving opportunities, has the potential to impact real health outcomes. 

Consumers are feeling sticker shock in healthcare, and the cost of filling prescriptions has become an obstacle on health journeys. Many people don’t know that solutions exist, or how to take advantage of what’s available, such as prescription savings programs. 

To overcome accessibility barriers and spur action, pharma marketers need to address consumers' concerns about costs, reaching them with the right message within trustworthy contexts.

Costs Are an Increasing Barrier to Care and Adherence

In our September 2022 survey of 1,269 U.S. consumers, affordability was today’s second-largest barrier to living a healthy lifestyle. People living with chronic conditions are 19% more likely to consider cost a top barrier to wellness. More than two out of five U.S. adults think about whether the cost of going to the doctor is worth it before they go, up 21% from the end of 2020 to 2022. 

For many, prescription costs in particular are high, over $700 out of pocket annually, and 45% consider their typical costs very high or high. Nearly three in five have experienced out-of-pocket costs they couldn’t afford.


High costs show up across the health journey, impacting consumer decisions. For instance, when prescription costs are too high for consumers:

  • 47% contact their healthcare provider to ask for a less expensive or generic option

  • 45% do not fill the prescription

  • 38% ask their pharmacist for a less expensive or generic option 

  • 31% use a prescription discount service

People Are Looking for Trustworthy Information 

People are looking for the right knowledge, education, and understanding of how to navigate costs and what tools may be available for them. 

In particular, they are looking for information they can trust, which is why they may reach out to healthcare providers or pharmacists first. Consumers today can be skeptical about some types of online information — for instance, three out of five medication information seekers won’t visit a drug manufacturer’s site. What do people find credible? Over half look for clear language, citations of scientific studies, and assurance that the information has been clinically reviewed. An empathetic and warm tone isn’t enough, as only 10% of people said this made a resource credible. 

If people aren’t looking on drug manufacturer sites, it matters that pharma marketers are showing up within online ecosystems that people consider trustworthy sources of information. We’ve seen this demand on our sites, as the number of consumer drug information sessions on Healthline.com and MedicalNewsToday.com has grown year over year, 75% and 19%, respectively.


Pharma marketers need to connect the dots and ensure their consumers have trustworthy information about costs and solutions. We’ve found that a lack of information, and some misconceptions, exist around discount services. More than half of visitors to our consumer drug information pages recognize that Rx discount services are a money saver. However, lack of familiarity or usage of these services is just as prominent — looking at the general U.S. population, 51% have never used an Rx discount service before, including 68% of those in the 18-24 age range. 

In addition, of those who haven’t used a prescription discount service, almost four in ten say they aren’t sure how it works or where to start. Only six in ten of this group agree it’s a good way to save money — fewer than the 82% of those who actually have used a discount service and agree it helps them save. 

Credible Resources Encourage Consumers to Act

Healthline Media’s Head of Medical Affairs, Dr. Jenny Yu, MD FACS, spoke to the complex healthcare experience facing today’s consumer: “Many do not have the time to sift through the amount of information that is often conflicting. The cost of drugs can often lead to non-adherence. It is particularly difficult for those who are managing multiple conditions requiring prescriptions.” 

She explained that better information makes a difference: “We need to give people a clear path of how to navigate through cost and discount programs if we want to to improve adherence." 

By staying grounded in credible resources and promoting savings opportunities, marketers can help guide people to action, improving medication adherence and people’s lives. Our survey found that visitors are motivated to take action after learning about prescription medications on our website: 69% are extremely likely to refill their current prescription, while 58% are extremely likely to discuss a different medication with their healthcare provider. Most plan to discuss research findings with their doctor within a month or sooner.  

Get Ahead of Rx Costs with Healthline Media

Healthline Media is positioned to help pharma marketers and reach audiences looking for drug or cost information. We already lead the industry in providing accurate, trustworthy information to help people on their journeys, with a monthly reach of 83 million visits to chronic condition content across Healthline.com and MedicalNewsToday.com. In fact, 73% of our visitors on consumer drug information on Healthline.com consider the site a trusted resource, as do 67% on MedicalNewsToday.com. 

For consumers, we are bringing a new emphasis to cost savings and medication adherence with an interactive treatment savings experience launching on our consumer drug information pages later this year. For pharma marketers, it’s an actionable solution that puts your brand in front of audiences while they are seeking treatment information on our site. Your manufacturer copay program will be presented prominently to eligible consumers, helping raise awareness among new potential patients, fostering doctor discussion, and ultimately increase adherence of current patients to drive greater lifetime value.

This is the first article of a three-part Rx Cost Series to be released this year. 

To learn more about Healthline Media’s cost-saving program for prescription drugs, reach out to your sales representative, or contact us here.

Second-largest barrier, 19%, two out of five, 21%: Healthline Media Health & Wellness study. Survey of 1,269 U.S. consumers. Data weighted to be representative of U.S. adults. Sep 2022. $700, 45%, three in five, 47%, 45%, 38%, 31%, three out of five, over half, 10%: Healthline Media Consumer Drug Information Pages Visitor survey. Survey of 868 site visitors seeking drug/medication information, age 15+. Feb-May 2022. 75%, 19%: Google Analytics. Jan 2023. More than half: Healthline Media Consumer Drug Information Pages Visitor survey. 51%, 68%, four in ten, six in ten, 82%: Rx Medication Discount Service research. Survey of 1,327 U.S. consumers, ages 15+. Dec 2022. 69%, 58%, month or sooner: Healthline Media Consumer Drug Information Pages Visitor survey. 83MM: Google Analytics. Healthline and Medical News Today. Jan 2023. 73%, 67%: Healthline Media Consumer Drug Information Pages Visitor survey.

About Healthline Media

As the #1 health media property in the US, Healthline Media reaches more than 94MM unique visitors each month (Comscore, August 2021). We provide credible health information with a compassionate approach.