Two decades worth of studies were published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The results show that as the cost of prescription drugs increase some patients stop use of their prescriptions and therapy. The findings were based on a review of 132 studies completed from 1985 to 2006.
“Such devices as higher co-payments, monthly limits and benefit caps are associated with lower rates of drug treatment, worse adherence among existing users, and more frequent discontinuation of therapy,” said the report from RAND, Santa Monica, California.
The study shows that for each 10% increase in the cost for drugs, prescription drug use and spending decreases anywhere from 2% to 6%. Higher cost sharing seems to increase the use of medical services such as hospital visits for some conditions like congestive heart failure, high cholesterol, diabetes, schizophrenia, and asthma.
When patients decide not to continue to use their medication due to finances, there can be serious health consequences. Patients need to think twice before discontinuing use of prescriptions.