Diabetics who were nonadherent to their oral diabetes medications had higher medical costs and higher total health care costs compared with those who were adherent, according to a new Express Scripts study, which found that nonadherent diabetes patients last year had 1.3 times higher medical costs and 4% higher total health care expenses compared with adherent patients. Medication adherent patients had 235 fewer ER visits and 50 fewer hospitalizations per 1,000 patients.
Health care costs for adherent patients with diabetes-related complications were 9% lower than those for individuals who were not adherent to their oral diabetes drugs. A separate analysis found that adherence to oral diabetes drugs rose 3.6% between 2014 and 2016. The research showed that medication adherence to oral diabetes drugs was highest among commercially insured individuals aged 65 years and older at almost 75%, while those aged 20–44 years had the greatest room for improvement, with slightly less than 50% reporting adherence to oral diabetes drugs in 2016.