Dan Klein Explains the Need for Patient Assistance Foundations

Dan Klein, president and CEO of the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation, discusses the need for more patient assistance foundations to help patients pay for treatment.

What is the overall impact that patient assistance foundations, like PAN, have on helping patients access treatments?
Well we serve anywhere between 150,000 to 250,000 patients a year depending on how much funding we have available. In the past couple of years, we’ve served about 150,000 patients a year and we’re the largest of the major charitable foundations so we’re serving about 40% to 50% of the patients who get charitable assistance. My guess is, there are probably 1 million or so patients a year getting charitable support from the 7 to 9 largest foundations.

The problem is that we can’t serve everybody who comes to us for a grant. Now we do refer them to other charities. But my guess is that there are 2 or 3 times the number of people who need help who can’t actually get it.

How do you envision the role of PAN will change and expand as more novel therapies that are potentially curative, but expensive, come to market?
The worry we have is some of these very innovative new therapies, like CAR T therapies, other gene therapies, are going to be so expensive that health plans may struggle to find ways to pay for them and patient out-of-pocket costs could be essentially unaffordable for patients. So, we think they’re gonna be probably new ways to finance these kinds of treatments that will spread the cost over a longer period than the traditional benefit does. We are not sure what those will be but we know that half a million dollar and million dollar products come to the market, there are going to have to be new ways to finance those.
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