Health Costs Dearly
Surveys have shown that patients who are required to consume prescription medication fail to do so once the doctor has given them prescriptions to fill. This is called “prescription non-adherence.” The reason? The high cost of the medication itself. This is a crucial issue that needs to be addressed by everyone involved in healthcare, and patients need to be talked to as well. As if illnesses were not enough to deal with, patients feel that they’re paying a dual price for health. Fortunately, ninety percent of physicians believe that they have some role to play in discussing the cost of healthcare with patients.
Prescriptions that are not filled by patients remain a large problem. Many physicians do take into account the patient’s ability or inability to pay for medication while prescribing drugs. Several doctors agree that care should be taken in the choice of medication they prescribe, and if a cheaper alternative exists, this should be recommended. Most doctors, almost 75% believe that prescription non-adherence is due to hefty medicine costs. Is the only solution, then, a reduction in medicine price? This would entail policy decisions with big drug companies and pharmaceutical corporations. Decisions such as these would take years and not necessarily be in favor of patients.
What Doctors Say
While the doctors, globally, understand the reasons behind patients not filling their prescriptions, they don’t comprehend other aspects of care. Very few doctors track patients after they have prescribed medication. A mere 5% of doctors say they always follow up on a prescription that hasn’t been filled. Some 18% of physicians admitted that they “usually” track prescriptions. What this means is that the majority of doctors aren’t checking up on prescription non-adherence.
Something that Matters
Nearly 30% of American patients don’t fill in their medical prescriptions. Naturally, such a state of affairs affects a whole lot of Americans. Six out of ten Americans use prescription medication. If you consider the elderly American population, nine in ten require prescription medication. This may be due to illnesses that are age-related or other chronic ailments. More than half of seniors consume four or more prescription drugs. Prescription non-adherence poses a grave health risk to many people.
Data about prescription non-adherence is available to chemists and pharmacies. It is also available to insurance companies by way of claims. As a result of patients’ prescription non-adherence, several more patients per year need to visit ER facilities. Often, it may be too late in the day to save them from serious health issues that run their course without adequate medication.
An Alternative Solution: PriceMyPills
PriceMyPills was established in 2018 when its founder Kirat Shahiwala began his career in the pharmaceutical industry. Kirat witnessed patients complaining about the high cost of their prescription medications and decided he wanted to give people a better alternative.
Customers are on the losing end for two reasons:
- Not exploring their options with different providers as the competition encourages different pharmacies to offer the best price for medications.
- The communication barrier that exists between customers and independent pharmacies that provide savings.
PriceMyPills seeks to put an end to these barriers by connecting the right pharmacy with patients to create a win-win situation for both. By becoming a member of their online portal patients get the convenience of receiving multiple bids for their medication from member pharmacies at discounted prices. Not only that, but pharmacies have the opportunity to get more patients to their stores at just the click of a button.
Health Systems and Solutions
Failing to fill prescriptions comes at a great cost to the US healthcare system. The cost runs into a few hundred billion dollars. The trend, according to government and healthcare professionals, should be to discuss issues of costs of medication with patients. Although many physicians do this as a practice, more healthcare workers should be involved. As many as 80% of doctors say that they feel comfortable talking to patients about pricing. Tracking and following up on patients is also the need of the hour.
Other factors that result in prescription non-adherence are related to anxiety about medication side effects. Several patients also decline some medication because they think they are already taking “too many pills”. The way forward is for physicians to have an empathetic approach while prescribing medication and for patients to be open about their concerns.