Editor's note: Amr Mansour is managing director at Infomine Healthcare Research, Cairo, Egypt. 

A PPSP is a patient-physician support program, typically designed by any concerned organization for the welfare of patients and mostly by pharmaceutical companies to give back to their communities. Although variations exist, there are three main types of PPSP: on-site patient early screening for disease programs (and optional call-center follow-ups); patient affordability programs (through call centers and medicine distributors); and patient education programs (also with optional call center follow-up).

Why do PPSPs exist? Three main reasons.

Screening. PPSPs help in early diagnosis of disease in at-risk patient populations and raise the awareness for early detection. The proactive screening provides patients with a better chance to treat themselves when they catch their condition early. Also, not all physicians are equipped with the latest and sometimes quite expensive detection devices. In addition, assessments are augmented by medically approved disease-specific questionnaires to determine more about the patient’s journey in his/her disease. The tools, equipment and personnel are provided free of charge to support patients and their treating physicians. 

Affordability. PPSPs help to provide a channel to reduce costs and increase accessibility to costly drugs through sponsored programs where patients are assisted to help in the cost of medications.

Education. PPSPs help busy physicians provide patient educators, who give time explaining the dos and don’ts of lifestyle choices and coping strategies for the patient, who is searching for answers and support. The patient educators are sponsored and no fees are levied on either patient or physician.

Traditionally, the PPSPs were always provided in-house by the pharmaceutical companies sponsoring them. However, with the advent of stricter co...