Surprisingly, according to researchers,, control of type 1 and 2 diabetes “was not significantly improved by free distribution.”

It seems like a no-brainer: removing the cost barrier to a prescription drug will improve patient adherence. But, according to a team of Canadian researchers, free drugs won’t convince all patients to swallow those pills.

As reported in a recent JAMA article, offering to remove cost barriers to life-saving prescription drugs does encourage adherence. The researchers identified more than 700 Canadian patients who said they had stopped taking their drugs as prescribed due to the cost to them. The team divided the groups into two, one receiving their drugs for free, the other continuing to access their drugs as they had previously. After one year, they checked in with the groups to review adherence to the 128 drugs on the list.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.

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