Higher Co-Payments Reduce Adherence to Hormonal Therapy

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.

If you are currently taking an AI and the cost of the co-pay is causing a financial burden, here are resources that can help.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

Drug Reimbursement and Patient Assistance Programs (Association of Northern California Oncologists)

Patient Advocate Foundation Co-Pay Relief Fund

Breast Cancer Emergency Fund

Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition

Source:  http://www.abstracts2view.com/sabcs13/view.php?nu=SABCS13L_682&terms=