Use of Drug Formularies Raises Health Risks for Adults Over 50, New Survey Finds
Last year, 12% of American adults over 50 were prescribed or switched to less expensive prescription medications due to drug plan formulary restrictions, according to a new report released yesterday by Project Patient Care. Harris Interactive researchers conducted telephone interviews with 1,001 insured adults age 50 and above who said that they take prescription drugs for at least one chronic condition. Researchers found that 13% of respondents said the substitute drug was "ineffective" in treating their condition, and 22% said they experienced side effects from an alternative drug. A separate Harris Interactive survey of health care providers and specialists who treat geriatric patients found that 23% of providers said that "drug formularies threaten the health of older Americans," while 78% said health care providers should "be the ones to decide which medications to prescribe to their patients." Dr. David Chess, president and chair of PPC, said, "As providers and policymakers construct ways to improve the health care system, they should consider the health impact over and above the economic costs. And above all, the decision about what medication is best should be left to the health care provider and the patient" (PPC release, 7/16). The full survey results are available online.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.