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In the United States, many women with chronic medical conditions aren't filling prescriptions or are trying to make their medications last longer due to the cost, a new study finds.
Not filling prescriptions, skipping doses, delaying refills or splitting pills may put their health at risk, the study authors noted.
For the study, researchers collected data on patients in 11 high-income countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Among U.S. patients, one in four younger women (aged 18 to 64) reported cost-related non-adherence to their prescriptions compared with one in seven younger men.
The researchers found that the largest disparities between men and women occurred in the United States -- 54%, compared to 33% in Canada and 17% in Australia.
"Prescription drug coverage systems -- like those in the U.S. and Canada -- that rely on employment-based insurance or require high patient contributions may disproportionally affect women, who are less likely to have full-time employment and more likely to be lower income," said lead researcher Jamie Daw. She's an assistant professor of health policy and management at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, in New York City.
"The disparities we found in access to medicines may produce health disparities between men and women that should be further explored," Daw added in a university news release.
The findings were published online Aug. 3 in the journal Health Affairs.
-- Steven Reinberg
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