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Increasing co-payments may reduce use of essential and non-essential medications

ere observed for arthritis patients taking NSAIDs (27 percent) and allergy patients taking antihistamines (31 percent). Patients with diabetes reduced their use of antidiabetes drugs by 23 percent."

"The largest reductions were for drugs with close OTC (over-the-counter) substitutes that primarily treat symptoms rather than the underlying disease," the authors write. "When we examined the chronically ill population receiving routine care, a group of patients who are most likely to benefit from drug treatment, we still found that doubling co-payments is associated with reductions in drug use of 8 percent to 23 percent." In conclusion the authors write, " significant increases in co-payments do raise concern about adverse health consequences because of the large price effects, especially among diabetic patients." (JAMA. 2004; 291:2344-2350. Available post-embargo at JAMA.com)


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Contact: Warren Robak
310-451-6913
JAMA and Archives Journals
18-May-2004


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