Rx abandonment on the rise in patients with commercial health plans, market research study said

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. Patients using commercial health plans in 2009 abandoned their prescriptions at a rate 24% higher than in 2008, according to a new report by Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions.

The market research firm said consumers were become more price-sensitive toward drugs, particularly branded drugs; as a result, while the overall rate of abandonment was 6.3%, it was 8.6% for branded drugs, a 23% increase over 2008 and a 68% increase over 2006. Together, patient abandonment and denials for new prescriptions by payers meant that 14.4% of prescriptions went unfilled in 2009, a 5.5% increase over 2008.

Additionally, many patients are turning to generics, which accounted for 66% of prescriptions filled in 2009, versus 60% in 2008 and 50% in 2005. In 2009, there were 2.6 billion generic prescriptions filled, compared with 1.3 billion branded prescriptions.

“Today, patients wield more power and are more inclined to exert that influence in decisions about their prescription drugs,” said Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions president and CEO Mark Spiers. “During tough economic times, consumers tend to think more with their pocketbooks. We’re seeing increasing price sensitivity to co-pay and broader moves by patients in making decisions about their drug therapy.”

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