Merck drops the ball with Keytruda assistance

Failed Rubber Stamp
  • Keytruda patients are taking to social media to complain about Merck’s patient assistance program.
  • Among the complaints are “closed offices” and wait times in the hours.
  • Patients prefer BMS’s patient assistance which they see as more responsine.

“Anyone else having problems with Keytruda drug assistance? I have been unable to get through all week to request Keytruda for a patient who has been receiving it for a few months. The customer service has always been poor compared with BMS and some of the other programs I’ve dealt with due to a minimum 20-30 minute hold time before a representative will answer. They don’t have an automated phone system for refill requests or a fax system like Genentech so you have to call, wait on hold for half an hour while hoping you don’t get called away from an actual patient care issue, then give them the info to process your request.”

Back Camera

When your customers start posting messages like this there is a problem with your brand and company. Another patient said “I absolutely despise calling them. It seems like the best time to call them is around 1 PM central time. I literally have tried every time of day and sometimes I will be on hold an hour before giving up. I know there is a way to have them call you when a refill is needed but I have never done this. They also refuse to refill even if the patient is 1 day early which is ridiculous. We have had to reschedule patients because of this rule. I argued that they allowed +- 3 days on pembrolizumab in the keynote trials. They just keep telling me the FDA label is every 21 days- it’s a joke. BMS is way better to deal with. I would also be interested in tips to make dealing with Merck easier”.


Keytruda seems to be getting a lot of approvals as they go for earning the most money, but obviously they are treating their patients like expendable assets. Patients are now customer of health care and they want to be treated like you value their business. By the way, let’s also remember that a certain percentage of Keytruda sales go to BMS because of legal issues.