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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UNC Finds Out-Of-Pocket Costs Play Major Role in Treatment Adherence for Cancer Patients

The cost of insurance co-payments for cutting-edge pharmaceuticals can vary widely from patient to patient. When the patient’s share of prescription costs becomes too high, many patients skip doses or stop taking medication entirely, according to research conducted at the University of North Carolina. Using data from health plan claims for the anti-cancer drug imatinib filed between 2002 to 2011, Dr. Stacie B. Dusetzina, research assistant professor of health policy and management at Gillings School of Global Public Health and of medicine in the UNC School of Medicine and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, found that patients with higher co-payments were 70 percent more likely to stop taking their cancer treatment and 42 percent more likely to skip doses. The study, published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is one of the first to examine the effect of high out-of-pocket drug costs for targeted cancer therapies on patients.