Effect of Cost-Sharing on Essential Drug Use Examined Among Poor, Elderly

A Canadian study of over 140,000 elderly and welfare recipients who were subject to a new prescription coinsurance and deductible cost-sharing policy was conducted by researchers at McGill University. They found that after the new policy was implemented, use of essential medicines decreased by over 9% in the elderly, and by 14% in welfare recipients. There were also substantial increases in the rate of serious adverse drug events, and in emergency department visit rates, in both groups. The article, authored by R. Tamblyn et. al., appears in JAMA, Vol. 285, No. 4, Jan. 24/31, 2001.