A Morrisville company that helps get insurance coverage for costly specialty drugs and price discounts for patients will be hiring several hundred health care specialists by year’s end.
TrialCard just hired 500 people in July and now employs about 1,000 here, and plans to hire up to 200 more in Morrisville by December. The 18-year-old company is expanding support services to drug makers as the pharmaceutical industry shifts from mass-market drugs that are widely covered by health insurance to producing increasingly expensive, targeted medications that require special approval for insurance coverage.
CEO Mark Bouck told The News & Observer on Wednesday that the planned hires will largely be nurses and insurance reimbursement specialists. Bouck said TrialCard answers a “need to help people understand how to get on new medications and how to pay for it.”
Bouck said the boom that TrialCard is experiencing is industry-wide, and not limited to any single company. The pharmaceutical industry has become so complex that drug makers rely on a variety of ancillary services, from regulatory to clinical to patient advocacy, to run their businesses.
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Additionally, Bouck said, “We help the patients stay on the medication by completing their regimen.”
TrialCard was founded in 2000 and initially specialized in copay discount cards that doctors give out to patients when prescribing new drugs. TrialCard still produces the copay cards in Morrisville and distributes the cards to doctors. Drug makers pay them to produce the cards.
But the company has branched to other support services. TrialCard handles complex insurance coverage submissions on behalf of seriously ill patients for new, specialty drugs. TrialCard also reminds patients, by means of texts and phone calls, when to take their drugs and get refills. The company also connects patients with nonprofit foundations and others funding sources to cover drug costs if necessary. And it runs a nursing line for medical questions about the 165-plus medications it supports for about 70-some drug makers.
The local business has quickly grown to become one of Morrisville’s largest employers, a roster that includes Lenovo, CreditSuisse, NetApp and Xerox-spinoff Conduent, said Sarah Gaskill, president of the Morrisville Chamber of Commerce.
“They certainly are quite robust and their expansion opportunities are quite impressive,” Gaskill said.
Neither Bouck nor Michael Carlin, the company’s senior vice-president for marketing, would say which pharmaceutical company contract was driving the company’s hiring plans. TrialCard doesn’t reveal the names of any drug companies it works with.
Despite hiring hundreds of people this year, TrialCard will not be rewarded with economic-development incentives that are paid to companies that select North Carolina over other sites. Carlin said the company would not have qualified for financial incentives from the state because it had always intended to expand here, not at a competing location out-of-state.
TrialCard has overflowed to five separate locations in Morrisville since it established itself in the town, including a newly opened 60,000-square-foot patient call center off Aviation Parkway. The company also has a data backup center in Chicago and is opening a site in Kansas City, Missouri.
Privately held TrialCard was acquired last November by New York-based Odyssey Investment Partners. TrialCard doesn’t disclose its financial data, but its revenue was about $95 million last year and is expected at nearly $130 million this year, Bouck said.
“A lot of what we do at TrialCard and in the hub service programs we create is support the physicians’ treatment decisions and make sure that patients receive the benefits they’re entitled to,” said Rick Ford, senior director of market access solutions, in a company marketing video.