LOW INCOME DECREASES ADHERENCE TO MEDICATIONS

Beer-Sheva, Israel – Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Maccabi Healthcare Services, the second largest HMO in Israel, revealed that cost-related underuse of chronic pharmaceutical therapy is self-reported among approximately 10% of the chronically-ill patients. This phenomenon is strongly affected by low socio-economic status, as measured by lower income and unemployment, even under universal health insurance coverage and with relatively low copayments as applied in Israel. The lack of information regarding the prescribed therapy provided by physicians is associated with a higher likelihood of cost-related non-adherence.

A recent study, “Determinants of Cost-Related Nonadherence to Medications among Chronically Ill Patients in Maccabi Healthcare Services, Israel,” published in Value in Health Regional Issues, is the first to evaluate cost-related non-adherence among a representative cohort of chronic patients in Israel and analyze its potential determinant.

The researchers conducted a survey among 522 chronically-ill adults and found that cost-related non-adherence was associated with: lower income, unemployment, lack of physician explanation about the prescribed medication and younger age. The results support the removal of financial barriers for non-adherence in Israel. Further research to provide evidence for a negative association between non-adherence to drug therapy and long-term health care expenditure may encourage health care policy makers to adopt value-based insurance designs. These designs may include co-payments differentiated by treatment value, rather than cost, in order to improve adherence and outcomes with the potential of reducing long-term health care spending.

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