Study Finds Sky-High Prescription Noncompliance Among Seniors

JUNE 01, 2005

Four out of every 10 senior citizens do not follow through on the drug therapy prescribed by their doctors, and the new Medicare Part D prescription program slated to take effect next year will not eliminate that noncompliance problem, researchers have warned.

A new study conducted by the Health Institute at Tufts-New England Medical Center found that concern about the high cost of prescription medicines was only one reason for the high level of noncompliance among elderly patients. An equally important factor, according to the researchers, was the belief held by many seniors that the medicines being prescribed for them do not work or make them feel worse.

Another reason cited was that many older Americans feel that they are being overmedicated. Nearly half (46%) of the seniors who reported taking prescription medicines during the past year said that they were taking 6 or more different drugs.