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Stroke medicines still unaffordable for some survivors, according to University of Michigan research
Date:2/11/2011

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 10, 2011 Young, uninsured stroke survivors or those covered by the Medicare Part D drug benefit often can't afford medications increasing the risk for future strokes or other cardiovascular disease-related events, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2011.

Researchers evaluated whether cost-related non-adherence to medication was a problem for stroke survivors even after the 2006 implementation of Medicare Part D, a federal government drug benefit that offers prescription drug coverage to all Medicare participants.

"Federal programs to reduce cost-related non-adherence to medication may not be working as intended, and a resulting large number of stroke survivors are at risk for subsequent stroke events," said Deborah A. Levine, M.D., M.P.H., the study's lead author and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

"Medicare Part D has not resolved the problem of cost-related non-adherence to medication among Medicare beneficiaries with stroke."

Despite the government prescription coverage, the data suggest that medicine is still unaffordable for some disadvantaged stroke survivors.

Levine and colleagues examined data from 2,656 stroke survivors 45 years and older, and assessed cost-related non-adherence to prescription drugs during the past 12 months. The patients had participated in the National Health Interview Survey conducted between 2006 and 2009.

Researchers compared the patients' responses with survey data collected between 1998 and 2002, before Medicare Part D was implemented. Survey respondents were asked: "Was there any time when you needed prescription medicines but didn't get them because you couldn't afford them?" The survey only included stroke survivors living outside institutional settings, such as hospitals or rehabilitation centers.

Researchers said more people ap
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Contact: Heather Guenther
hguenthe@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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