A national internet survey was conducted between March and April 2009 among 27,302 US participants in the Harris Interactive Chronic Illness Panel. Respondents reported behaviors related to cost-related medication non-adherence (CRN) and the impacts of medication costs on other aspects of their daily lives. Among respondents aged 40-64 and looking for work, 66% reported CRN in 2008, and 41% did not fill a prescription due to cost pressures. More than half of respondents aged 40-64 and nearly two-thirds of those in this group who were looking for work or disabled reported other impacts of medication costs, such as cutting back on basic needs or increasing credit card debt. More than one-third of respondents aged 65+ who were working or looking for work reported CRN. Regardless of age or employment status, roughly half of respondents reporting medication cost hardship said that these problems had become more frequent in 2008 than before the economic recession. These data show that many chronically ill patients, particularly those looking for work or disabled, reported greater medication cost problems since the economic crisis began. Given links between CRN and worse health, the financial downturn may have had significant health consequences for adults with chronic illness.
Keywords: access to care; chronic disease; cost-of-care; medication adherence.