Medication rebates and health disparities: Mind the gap

Res Social Adm Pharm. 2020 Mar;16(3):431-433. doi: 10.1016/j.sapharm.2019.04.053. Epub 2019 Apr 30.


Compared to white patients in the United States, people of racial and ethnic minority groups face higher rates of chronic disease including diabetes, obesity, stroke, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Minority groups are also less likely to receive medication therapy to manage complications of chronic disease as well as be adherent to these therapies. A recently announced proposed rule by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG), which would discourage rebates between manufacturers and payers in favor of discounts directly provided to patients, has received significant attention for its anticipated impact on prescription drug pricing and reimbursement in Medicare. This commentary describes the proposed rule and how it may impact adherence among patients of racial minority groups through an illustrative case study and discussion.

Keywords: Health care costs; Health policy; Healthcare disparities; Medication adherence; Minority health.