Should doctors ask “can you afford this medication?”

KEY TAKEAWAY1 in 7 people don’t fill their prescriptions because they cost too much. At least 28 million Americans have experienced a spike in the cost of their prescription medications in the past 12 months . And for 4 million of them, the price was so high they walked away without their prescription altogether, according to a new Consumer Reports survey.  So whose responsibility is it to ensure patients fill heir Rx’s? Continue reading

Failure to take medications costs over $300 billion annually

Medical experts estimate that the failure to take prescription medications as directed costs some $300 billion a year in emergency room visits, in patient hospital care and extra visits to physicians offices.  If you think it’s all due to drug costs think again.  One study found that even in health plans where medications are free, rates of non-adherence were nearly 40%.  With the drug industry facing a huge loss of revenue from patent expiration you would figure that drug industry and the government would work to decrease non-adherence rates but they just can’t see the ROI clear enough. Continue reading

Up to 70% of non-adherence is voluntary

adherencepharmaAn Eyeforpharma report has some great information on adherence.  There are many reasons given by patients for not adhering to their prescribed treatment. The most obvious are that they simply forgot to take their medicine. This generally corresponds to only about 30% to 40% of cases. In other words, up to 70% of non-adherence is voluntary; people decide not to follow their therapy, either discontinuing it altogether (i.e. not being persistent) or not taking it as often as they should (non-compliant). Why? Continue reading

Non-Adherence Tied To High Copays

Patient_Adherence_Page2-resizedBurdensome cost sharing is linked with a 70% increase in the risk of discontinuing Gleevec,Tasigna or Sprycel among patients with chronic myeloid leukemia and a 42% increased risk of inadequate adherence, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.   In addition higher prescription co-payments were associated with both nonpersistence and nonadherence to aromatase inhibitors. This relationship was stronger in older women. Because noncompliance is associated with worse outcomes, future policy efforts should be directed toward interventions that would help patients with financial difficulties obtain life-saving medications. Continue reading