Is the ‘Cost is a Barrier’ a Busted Myth?
Maybe so, maybe not.
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Only 68 percent of corporate executives took their cholesterol lowering medication as prescribed by a doctor, a new study shows.
Overall, the executives who took their medication even sporadically were twice as likely to meet their cholesterol goals. The study finding also questions the prevailing wisdom that income is a primary factor in medication adherence.
Researchers in this study did not look at reasons why the executives did or didn’t follow their doctor’s orders, but past research on the topic suggests cost is a factor. However, this study population was predominately white male and more highly educated and compensated than more than the average person.
“Many people think cost is the main reason for medication non-adherence but this doesn’t appear true since these people have relatively high salaries,” said Schultz.
Using statins could actually save money. Previous research on the effectiveness of statin use in a population at high risk for cardiovascular disease found that a health plan with 210,000 covered lives and 9,336 at-risk employees could yield a $1,735 reduction in costs per treated patient.
So what can employers do? Make sure statins are a covered benefit, said Schultz. Do screening to identify at-risk employees. Partner with health care and pharmacy providers to address reasons for poor medication adherence.
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