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New Study Indicates Decreasing Prescription Copayments Results in Increased Adherence for Patients with Chronic Diseases
Date:1/8/2008

copayments for branded drugs were cut in half. A similar employer with identical disease management offerings and similar but stable copayments served as a control group.

The study was coauthored by Michael E. Chernew, PhD (Harvard University); A. Mark Fendrick, MD and Allison B. Rosen, MD, ScD (University of Michigan); Mayur Shah, MA, Arnold Wegh, MS, Stephen Rosenberg, MD, MPH, and Iver A. Juster, MD (Active Health Management); and Michael C. Sokol, MD, MS and Kristina Yu-Isenberg, PhD, RPh (GSK). Doctors Fendrick, Rosen, and Chernew are members of the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design.

Key Findings

The study investigated the impact of lowering copayments both on the rates of adherence and non-adherence for selected chronic medications. Both adherence and non-adherence were determined based upon the ratio of eligible days each patient was in possession of his or her medicine.

Several key findings resulted:

-- There was a statistically significant improvement in adherence for

heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

-- The results were achieved in addition to the effects of existing

disease management programs.

-- Value based insurance design programs can effectively increase

adherence to important medications and complement existing disease

management programs.

There was a small positive result for inhaled corticosteroids for the treatment of asthma, which was not, however, statistically significant. The authors note that this finding reflects the difficulty of measuring adherence for this class of drugs -- there are multiple doses in a single inhaler as opposed to the other medication classes, which more readily allowed individual doses to be counted.

The current study complements the results of an earlier study from GSK's Health Management Innovations team, which indicated that increasing prescription copayments resu
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SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline
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