Researcher used data from a large survey conducted in 2007 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which resulted in more than 270,000 responses. The study appears in the May issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.
More than 20 percent of Hispanics said that they did not fill a prescription from their doctor because of the cost of the drug, compared with a little less than 13 percent of non-Hispanics.
The discrepancy was not surprising, said Diane Frankenfield Dr.PH., a senior research analyst at the CMS in Baltimore.
Since all the respondents were eligible for prescription coverage through Medicaid Part D, the study did not evaluate anyone who had no health insurance, which would presumably increase the incidence of cost-related non-adherence.
Although about 15 percent of Americans are Hispanic, just fewer than 7 percent of respondents identified themselves as Hispanic, which is in line with the overall percentage of Hispanics in Medicare, Frankenfield said.
The study did not evaluate how the price of an individual prescription drug affected cost-related adherence; it only asked if the price had been a factor in the six months before the survey.
Other factors can also influence non-adherence to a prescription regimen, such as acculturation and language barriers. Creating an intervention program that works with cultural issues for Hispanics might help, Frankenfield said.
“Medication non-adherence is a problem among the entire U.S. population,” said Rebecca Snead, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, in Richmond, Va.
Health care reforms recently signed into law might make a difference, Snead said: “If it is truly cost-related non-adherence and costs go down, then the new health insurance rule should help. However, I feel non-adherence is multifaceted and cost-related non-adherence is only one of many considerations, although an important one, for all patients.”
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Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved: Contact Editor Virginia M. Brennan at (615) 327-6819 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Online, visit http://www.press.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_health_care_for_the_poor_and_underserved/
Frankenfield DL, et al.: Prescription medication cost-related non-adherence among Medicare CAHPS respondents: disparity by Hispanic ethnicity. J Health Care Poor Underserved 21(2), 2010.