Patient-oncologist cost communication, financial distress, and medication adherence.


Conference Paper

2 Background: Little is known about the association between patient-oncologist discussion of cancer treatment out-of-pocket (OOP) cost and medication adherence, a critical component of quality cancer care. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of insured adults receiving anti-cancer therapy. Patients were asked if they had discussed OOP cost with their oncologist. Medication non-adherence was defined as skipping doses to make prescriptions last longer, taking less medication than prescribed to make prescriptions last longer, or not filling prescriptions due to cost. Multivariable analysis assessed the association between cost discussions with an oncologist and non-adherence. Results: Among 300 respondents (84% response), 77% (n=230) were white and 53% (n=158) were men. 17% (n=52) reported “high” or “overwhelming” financial distress. 19% (n=56) had talked to their oncologist about cost. 27% (n=81) reported medication non-adherence. 14% (n=43) skipped medication doses to make the prescription last longer; 7% (n=3) of these had skipped chemotherapy. 11% (n=34) took less medication than prescribed to make the prescription last longer; 15% (n=5) of these took less chemotherapy. 22% (n=67) did not fill a prescription because of cost; 15% (n=10) of these did not fill a chemotherapy prescription. In adjusted analyses, cost discussion (OR 2.56, 95% CI 1.15-5.68; p=0.02), financial distress (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.33-1.85, P<0.001) and female gender (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.005-4.07, p=0.048) were associated with increased odds of non-adherence. Private insurance was associated with lower odds of non-adherence (OR 0.30, 95% CI 0.14-0.60, p<0.001). Conclusions: Patients reported non-adherence to medications and chemotherapy in order to make prescriptions last longer or due to cost. While these data cannot determine temporality or the affect of cost discussion on medication non-adherence, patient-oncologist cost communication and financial distress were associated with non-adherence. Future research should examine the timing, content, and quality of cost-related discussions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bestvina, CM; Zullig, LL; Rushing, C; Chino, FL; Samsa, G; Altomare, I; Tulsky, JA; Ubel, PA; Schrag, D; Nicolla, J; Abernethy, AP; Peppercorn, JM; Zafar, Y

Published Date

  • November 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 31 / 31_suppl

Start / End Page

  • 2 - 2

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-7755

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0732-183X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1200/jco.2013.31.31_suppl.2