Abandoned prescriptions constitute a small but significant component of nonadherence, according to a paper published in the Nov. 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Research by Harvard, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and CVS Caremark researchers found a direct correlation between the amount of a patient's out-of-pocket co-pay and the likelihood of prescription abandonment: Patients having a co-pay of $50 are almost four times more likely to abandon a prescription at a pharmacy than those paying $10. The study also found that e-prescriptions are 65% more likely to be left at a retail pharmacy by patients than are hand-written ones.
William H. Shrank, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, and colleagues, identified prescriptions bottled at a national pharmacy chain and linked them to claims data from a national pharmacy benefits manager to determine how often prescribed medications were not picked up at the pharmacy. They looked at more than10.3 million prescriptions.
In what the researchers believe to be the first study to comprehensively evaluate abandoned prescriptions, they concluded 3.27% of pharmacy-bottled prescriptions went unfilled, and more than half the time the patient did not fill an alternate prescription for the same medication at any pharmacy.
Among the findings: