Spotlight: Akilah Johnson, Drug Acquisition Representative, Jefferson Specialty Pharmacy
Our team chatted with Akilah Johnson, a drug acquisition representative at Jefferson Specialty Pharmacy in the Philadelphia region, about her role in connecting patients to the medications they need.
Where do you work and what is your position?
I am a drug acquisition representative at Jefferson Specialty Pharmacy and I have been there for two years. Drug acquisition representatives do regular technician work, but a big portion of what we do is getting patients financial assistance.
What do you like most about your job?
I like that we’re not just a pharmacy where we fill prescriptions and that’s the end of it. We really do follow up with our patients. We call them monthly for their refills—at that time we ask them how they’re doing on the medication to make sure they don’t have any issues. We also make sure they still have a good quality of life because a lot of things can change after their diagnosis.
How has the PAN Foundation impacted your patients?
Most of our patients are shocked when they hear how much their co-pay is. Their co-pays can run into thousands of dollars. A cancer diagnosis is already a lot to handle so having to pay thousands of dollars for medication adds another burden.
When we explain to patients that we have found assistance for them and they won’t have any out-of-pocket costs, they are more than relieved and always very thankful. A weight has been lifted off their shoulders because they’re not trying to figure out how to afford a medication that they really need.
How often do you refer patients to PAN?
PAN is one of our main go-to’s for every patient. I would say that 80-90 percent of our patients are either using PAN or we are actively checking to see if there is available funding. We use PAN’s services daily.
Are your colleagues aware of PAN?
Everyone who works in the specialty pharmacy is aware of the PAN Foundation. If a pharmacist happens to be speaking with a patient about out-of-pocket costs, they let them know that we can utilize PAN to help with their co-pays. Even our clinical and care teams are all aware that we have PAN as a resource for co-pay assistance.