Prescription Subsidies Improve Persistence in Breast Cancer Hormone Therapy

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There was a greater discontinuation for white, black and Hispanic patients that were not receiving subsidies.
There was a greater discontinuation for white, black and Hispanic patients that were not receiving subsidies.

HealthDay News -- According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, receipt of a prescription subsidy is associated with improved persistence to breast cancer hormone therapy for Hispanic, black and white women.

Alana Biggers, MD, MPH, from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and colleagues identified a nationwide cohort of 25,111 female Medicare D enrollees aged ≥65 years with a breast cancer operation between 2006 and 2007 and at least 1 prescription filled for oral breast cancer hormonal therapy. 

The authors examined the role of out-of-pocket cost supports though the Medicare Part D Low-Income subsidy on racial/ethnic disparities in persistence and adherence to breast cancer hormone therapy.

The researchers found that by 2 years, 69 and 70% of black and Hispanic patients, respectively, were persistent, compared with 61% of white patients. Patients in all 3 unsubsidized race or ethnicity groups had greater discontinuation than subsidized groups in adjusted analyses (hazard ratios for white, black and Hispanic patients: 1.83, 2.09 and 3.00, respectively). 

Racial or ethnic disparities in persistence seen for unsubsidized patients were not seen or were reversed for subsidized patients. Higher adherence was seen for all 3 subsidized race or ethnicity groups.

"Given high subsidy enrollment among black and Hispanic women, policies targeted at low-income patients have the potential to also substantially reduce racial and ethnic disparities," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Reference

Biggers A, et al. "Medicare D Subsidies And Racial Disparities In Persistence And Adherence With Hormonal Therapy". Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2016. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2016.67.3350. [Epub ahead of print]

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