February 19, 2020

Costs Deter Patients from Taking Prescribed Medications

A new study by Brian Callaghan, M.D., M.S., finds higher out-of-pocket costs lead to neurology patients being less likely to take their prescribed medications.

Haley Otman, Michigan Health Blog

Physicians can no longer disregard out-of-pocket costs when prescribing medications to their patients, one neurologist and health policy researcher says.

“It’s gotten to the point that, even if some don’t think it’s our role to consider out-of-pocket costs, we’re making decisions that impact patients directly,” says Brian Callaghan, M.D., M.S., an associate professor of neurology at Michigan Medicine.

Callaghan and colleagues’ latest paper on medication pricing found that, as the out-of-pocket price went up for prescriptions for three common neurologic conditions, patients were less likely to take their medication as prescribed.

“These findings should have ramifications for how we practice,” Callaghan says. “Gone are the times we could ignore out-of-pocket costs, because they affect whether our patients take the medications we give them.