Data and patient stories demonstrate that although it may decrease costs upfront, nonmedical switching is bad for patients, overall health care costs and society at large.
Devastating health outcomes
- For each 10% rise in copays, medication adherence drops between 2% and 6%.
- When copays double, medication adherence drops between 25% and 45%.
- Switching can lead people with epilepsy to experience breakthrough seizures.
- For Crohn’s disease patients, even voluntary switching was associated with loss of effectiveness within one year.
Higher health care costs
- People with epilepsy who were switched required more inpatient/emergency room care.
- Rheumatoid arthritis patients who were switched experienced 42% more emergency room visits and 12% more outpatient visits over six months.
- Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or Crohn’s who were switched incurred 26% higher total health costs than patients who weren’t.
Negative societal impact
- Indirect costs of medication nonadherence exceed $1.5 billion annually in lost earnings and cost $50 billion in lost productivity.
- Psychiatric patients who stop taking their medications because of coverage changes are 3.2 times more likely to be homeless. They are also more than twice as likely to be incarcerated or detained in jail.
- Emotional toll on patients and their families
- Erosion of patient-provider relationship
- Flies in the face of evidence-based medicine