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Up to 1 in 4 Patients Skip Oral Cancer Drugs on Costs

Cheryl Clark, May 19, 2011

High co-payment costs prompt between 6% and 25% of oncology patients to walk away from the pharmacy counter without filling their prescriptions for eight oral cancer drugs, according to a report funded by five large pharmacy manufacturers.

According to the report, 6% of oncology patients whose prescription co-payment was $100 or less decided to void the purchase after learning the cost. About 25% didn't purchase the prescription medication when they learned co-payments or cost-sharing would require them to pay more than $500.

The report was authored by researchers from the Washington, D.C. based Michael Johnsrud, senior vice president of the healthcare advisory company, Avalere Health.

"The point we are making is that co-payment amounts in pharmacy benefit plans may influence whether the patient doesn't take the drug," Johnsrud said in a telephone interview.  "As healthcare reform initiatives evolve, policymakers and stakeholders should take that into consideration so they don't pose a barrier."

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