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Americans pay the most for prescription drugs and still don't take them
Date:1/8/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---An international study of dialysis patients shows that although U.S. residents have the highest out-of-pocket drug costs, even those who can afford their prescription drugs are far less likely to take them than patients in other countries.

The new research from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Arbor Research Collaborative for Health found that high out-of-pocket drug costs are only a partial reason why fewer American dialysis patients took their medications than in other countries, said Richard Hirth, professor at the U-M School of Public Health.

"There is something about Americans that make them more noncompliant with their drugs even when you leave out the higher cost of the drugs," said Hirth, who co-authored the paper with Scott Greer, assistant professor at the School of Public Health. "The study looked at drug costs and adherence in hemodialysis patients from 12 developed countries participating in the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study.

Dialysis patients in the United Kingdom enjoyed the lowest out-of-pocket spending, at $8 per month, compared to $114 per month in the United States. The percentage of people who did not adhere to their drug regimens because of cost ranged from 3 percent in Japan to 29 percent in the United States---a percentage higher than expected, even accounting for the high cost of U.S. prescriptions, Hirth said.

Hirth and Greer simulated the impact of prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D, implemented after the survey, and determined that U.S. out-of-pocket burdens would remain high by international standards, though no longer the highest, with the projected U.S. burden falling below that of Swedish patients. Nonetheless, they projected that although non-adherence would decline after the implementation of Part D, it would still remain well above that in any other country in the sample. Thus, the high non-adherence rate in the Un
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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-647-1848
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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