Objectives: To determine whether subsidizing prescription drug copayments for patients with chronic illness and low socioeconomic status would increase their use of prescription drugs and improve their health. Study Design: Prospective cohort study. Methods: Enrolled were 355 patients with low socioeconomic status, as defined by the Israel National Insurance Institute, who were not regularly purchasing prescribed medications. Included were patients (mean age, 64.6 years) with diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or hypercholesterolemia, as these chronic illnesses have easily measurable surrogate end points. Patients were followed up for 24 months. Serum glycated hemoglobin level, blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration were measured. Patients paid their copayments using a "credit card" covered by a donation. Results: Two years after initiation of the subsidized copayment program, the mean (SD) values were significantly below those at the outset of the program for blood pressure (136.2 [16.7]/78.0 [8.7] vs 128.2 [13.3]/74.8 [8.1] mm Hg) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration (116.2 [38.0] vs 105.3 [38.0] mg/dL) (P <.001 for both). The mean glycated hemoglobin level showed no improvement in the first year, but a significant increase was noted by the second year of the program. Conclusions: When copayments for prescription drugs were eliminated, low-income patients demonstrated increased compliance with obtaining medications, better response to treatment, and improved blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. Glycemic control did not improve.
|Journal||American Journal of Managed Care|
|State||Published - 1 Jul 2011|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy