Diabetes Drug Costs Drive Non-Adherence

November 11, 2019
Tracey Walker
Tracey Walker

A survey of diabetes educators reveals challenges faced by patients with diabetes who can’t afford their drugs.

A new survey of professional diabetes educators shows that patients with diabetes struggle to afford their medications and are seeking relief on many levels including using discount prescription savings cards in order to better manage their condition.

Professional diabetes educators credentialed in diabetes self-management training reported that when talking with people under their care, the concerns about affordability of medications and supplies are greater (60%) than concerns their patients voiced over their ability to manage the condition with lifestyle management practices such as maintaining good health and healthy dietary habits.

“When it comes to helping with the cost of affording diabetes medications and insulin, educators take it on themselves to invest the extra time to find ways to help,” says Leslie Achter, CEO for Inside Rx.

According to newly released data, more than half of professional educators polled say they search for discount cards, to cover medication at a price their patient can afford, and 25% of educators, when appropriate, call the physician requesting a change to a generic medication.

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The survey also found that nearly two-thirds of educator’s report that their patients admit rationing their medications through actions like cutting their tablets or decreasing their insulin dosage-practices that can be potentially risky and dangerous-making access to discounted medications all the more important.

“Nonadherence is one of the costliest aspects of healthcare,” Achter says. “The cost of prescription medications can affect adherence, particularly among people who are uninsured. For these people and those in high deductible plans, providing access to needed medications at a discounted rate is part of our corporate responsibility as healthcare providers.” 

As it relates to this study, health executives should recognize that access and affordability go hand-in-hand as the biggest barriers to a patient successfully managing their diabetes, according to Achter. “This in turn can then lead to non-adherence and overall poor health habits,” she says.