Post-menopausal women diagnosed with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer are usually prescribed an aromatase inhibitor (AI), such as Arimidex, Aromasin or Femara, for five years to reduce the risk of recurrence. Patient adherence to AIs is often challenging, as these drugs can cause bothersome side effects. Recent research suggests that the cost of these medications can also affect patient compliance.
In a study presented at the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, researchers from Columbia University found that women who pay less for the medication are more likely to take it. Among a group of 3,351 post-menopausal women, 68% of those with a co-pay of less than $10.00 per month adhered to the medication, whereas only 56% of those with a co-pay of more than $20.00 per month adhered to the medication. Adherence rates were also significantly higher among women who took the generic version of the drugs, as opposed to the brand name version.