From Kevin MD (really great stuff lately!), a report that a) patients don’t take their necessary meds because of costs, and b) many physicians don’t ask about costs. From the Archives of Internal Medicine:
bq. About one-third of chronically ill adults who underuse medications because of the costs associated with buying the drugs, never tell their health care practitioners . . .
The underuse of essential medications, including cholesterol-lowering medications, heart medications, asthma medications and antipsychotics, has been associated with increased emergency department visits, nursing home admissions, acute psychiatric hospitalizations, and a decrease in self-reported health status, according to the article.
Of respondents who did not tell a clinician, 66 percent reported that they had not been asked about their ability to pay for prescriptions. Seventy two percent of patients who talked with their clinicians about medication costs found the conversations to be helpful. However, 31 percent said their medications were never changed to a generic or less expensive replacement. Also, only 30 percent of patients were informed of programs that help pay drug costs, and fewer people were told where to purchase less expensive medication (28 percent).
We’ve known this for awhile now, but it’s important to re-iterate. And I don’t care how good the drugs are that come to market, how effective they are at lowering cholesterol or blood pressure or controlling diabetes; if people can’t afford them, they’re absolutely, 100% worthless.