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J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Feb 1;110(2). doi: 10.1093/jnci/djx164.

Trends in Financial Access to Prescription Drugs Among Cancer Survivors.

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Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD; Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Washington, DC; Surveillance and Health Services Research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA.


Little is known about the competing effects of increasing prescription drug costs and expansions in insurance coverage on prescription drug access and whether trends vary for adults with and without a cancer history. Using the 2010-2015 National Health Interview Survey, we examined trends in limited prescription drug access, operationalized as forgoing needed prescription drugs because of cost. The percentages of adults age 18 to 64 years with limited prescription drug access decreased over time: predicted margins from multivariable logistic regression models were 13.8% in 2010 vs 8.6% in 2015 for cancer survivors and 11.0% vs 6.8% for adults without a cancer history (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] for trend = 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.88 to 0.90). Access changed little for adults age 65 years and older. Among adults age 18 to 64 years, cancer survivors were more likely than those without a cancer history to report limited access to any prescription drug in all years (aOR from multivariable logistic regression model = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.31 to 1.61). However, trends did not differ by cancer history. Our findings suggest that expansions in health insurance coverage mitigated the effects of growing prescription drug costs to some extent for many individuals with and without a history of cancer.

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