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Does Paying for Diabetes Medication Cause You Financial Hardship?

“Out-of-pocket medication costs pose a significant burden to many adults with diabetes and contribute to decreased treatment adherence.”

So much so that in a recent survey, 87 percent of respondents said they went without food and other essentials to pay medication costs.

This was the finding of researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In a national survey of 875 adults with diabetes, respondents reported whether they had underused prescription medications due to cost pressures or had experienced other financial hardship associated with medication costs, such as having to forgo basic necessities.

Respondents also described their interactions with clinicians about medication costs.

“Few respondents, including those reporting medication cost problems, reported that their healthcare providers had given them information or other assistance to address medication cost pressures,” write the researchers, who suggest clinicians should actively identify patients with diabetes who are facing medication cost pressures and assist them by modifying their medication regimens.

This can be accomplished, the researchers suggest, by

  • Helping the patients understand the importance of each prescribed medication
  • Providing information on sources of low-cost drugs
  • Linking patients with coverage programs

-Diabetes Care, February 2004

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