With the current economic downturn, prescriptions are not necessarily being filled, in other words, patients are not following doctor’s orders. This has another potential issue as well when it comes to pay for performance for physicians too. They can’t force a patient to take a medication by all means, but when the numbers roll in for how successful the physicians are with treating chronic care diseases, well you get the idea there, it will skew the numbers, depending on how many patients are not getting their medications or taking other options – cash.
This is truly one of the big weak points in the current grading system with physicians and the outcomes of how they make or don’t make the grade. There’s one more element to this as well as when a patient chooses to pay cash for a $4.00 prescription and there’s no reporting back to an insurer, who knows if the patient actually is filling a prescription, on the reporting side of things, so again, numbers could be skewed here with patients both getting a $4.00 script or not filling the prescription at all.
Overall I might guess there’s a good chance of both taking place, some not taking meds and others opting for the $4.00 generics, so it might really be hard to get a handle on this for reporting purposes. If a patient can get the same generic for $4.00 at a retailer versus paying a $10 to $20 co-pay, why would one pay more, other than a simple convenience. Convenience must still rule though as there are many who still pay the co-pay for the same drugs that can be had for less and it might be more or less an area of education for many patients and physicians too. There are links on this site to the retailers who do provide $4.00 prescriptions. BD
An April poll from the Kaiser foundation (online here) found that 23% of patients didn’t fill a prescription in the last year because of cost, up from 20% in 2005; 19% split pills or skipped doses, up from 16% in 2005. Especially vulnerable may be drugs for chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, where people who skip pills may not feel any immediate health effects (despite the fact that skipping can raise risks of having a heart attack or stroke).