According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, adults diagnosed with diabetes employ several strategies to reduce the costs of their prescription drugs. 

Using data from the 2017-2018 National Health Interview Survey, the study authors found that among adult patients with diabetes, women were more likely than men to not take their medication as prescribed in order to reduce their prescription drug costs. Study data also showed that younger patients (under age 65) were more likely not to take their medication as prescribed compared with older patients (≥65 years). With regard to requesting a lower-cost alternative, study results showed that women and younger patients were more likely to ask their physician for another medication. 

Health insurance coverage also played a role in how respondents addressed prescription drug costs. Among patients 18 to 64 years, the percentage of patients who reported that they were more likely to not take their medication as prescribed or to ask their physician for a lower-cost medication was found to be highest among uninsured individuals. Results also showed that those with private insurance were more likely than those with Medicaid to request a lower-cost alternative.

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Among older patients, the percentage of patients who did not take their medications in order to reduce costs did not vary significantly by insurance coverage, however, those with private insurance were more likely to ask their doctor for a lower-cost drug compared with those with Medicare or Medicaid.


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“Recently, there has been a shift towards lower-cost options as the first line of therapy for diabetes management. However, the burden associated with high prescription drug costs remains a public health concern for adults with diagnosed diabetes,” the authors concluded.

For more information visit cdc.gov.