(HealthDay News) — About 1 in 5 older adults reported cost-related medication nonadherence in 2022, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers examined older adults’ cost-related medication nonadherence in a nationally representative survey of adults aged 65 years and older. Data were included from 2005 respondents.

Overall, 20.2% of respondents reported cost-related medication nonadherence. Extreme forms of cost coping were reported by some respondents, including foregoing basic needs (8.5%) or going into debt to afford medications (4.8%).

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Most respondents (89.0%) reported being comfortable or neutral about being screened for wanting to have medication cost conversations before a physician’s visit. Most respondents (89.5%) also said they wanted their physician to use real-time benefit tools that present the patient’s expected out-of-pocket costs to prescribers at the point of prescribing.

Some respondents (41.5%) said they would be “extremely upset” if there were large discrepancies between prices provided by the real-time benefit tool and the actual price they paid at the pharmacy. Respondents were more likely to report being extremely upset by this if they had cost-related nonadherence (49.9%) than if they did not (39.3%).

Most respondents (78.1%) with cost-related nonadherence said that if the actual price was much more than the estimated price, it would affect their decision to start or keep taking a medication.

“[R]eal-time benefit tools may increase cost-conscious prescribing and better prepare patients for the prices they will face at the pharmacy counter, but they do not reduce drug prices directly,” the researchers wrote. “Broader efforts and policy reforms are needed to lower the prices of medications and to improve insurance coverage.”

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