Out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs prevent many Canadians from taking medication as directed. A new study shows 8.3 per cent – or one in 12 – Canadians ages 55 and over either skipped doses or did not fill prescription because of cost in 2014.
People who do not take medications as prescribed – known as nonadherence – are less likely to have good results from treatment, and may be at risk of having their condition progress to a more serious health problem in the future.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health used data from the Commonwealth Fund’s 2014 International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults, which surveyed 5,269 Canadians ages 55 and over by phone. The UBC researchers found that age, income, health status and access to private health insurance all influenced whether people skipped medication doses or did not fill prescriptions because of costs:
The results show that even with universal access to healthcare, there are financial barriers to treatment if people are unable to take their medication because of costs. The study authors call the financial inaccessibility of prescription medicines in Canada a substantial public health issue, and note that it affects one in 12 people in this age group.
The study, which was led by Steve Morgan, PhD, was published in CMAJ Open on Jan. 18, 2017.Jump to top page