You get sick, you go to the doctor, he or she writes you a prescription for some pills, you take it to the pharmacy and then… Logic would suggest that the next steps would be that you pick up the prescription, take the medicine and get better.
Well, not always. According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine almost 2% of these prescriptions are never picked up.
Using databases from a large retail pharmacy chain and a pharmacy benefits manager, researchers examined factors associated with prescription abandonment over a 3-month period.
Unsurprisingly, drugs with high copayments are the most likely to go unclaimed. Prescriptions with copayments of $40 to $50 and prescriptions costing more than $50 were 3.40 times and 4.68 times more likely, respectively, to be abandoned than prescriptions with no copayment.
In addition, electronic prescriptions were 1.6 times more likely than non-electronic prescriptions to be left behind, and new prescriptions were almost three times more likely to be abandoned than previously filled prescriptions.
Interestingly, young adults were more likely than older patients to abandon their prescriptions, while opiates and anti-platelet agents were the least likely to be left behind.
Although the accompanying editorial called the low rate of abandonment “reassuring,” they suggest that physicians “remain mindful that costs are an important barrier to adherence and should aim to prescribe or recommend less expensive alternatives whenever feasible.”
SRxA’s Advisors can help pharmaceutical companies increase medication compliance and implement programs to lower the consumer cost of prescription drugs. Contact us today for more information.