Your weekly issue is 1
now FREE on iPad
Essential clinical info by medical professionals
BONUS FEATURES exclusive to iPad
Patients miss asthma meds due to high cost
PATIENTS with asthma are skipping vital preventer medication, and even relievers, due to cost, the Asthma Foundation of NSW warns.
The foundation called on the federal government to review the cost of asthma medication on the PBS, and to consider concession cards for people with chronic conditions, following a survey showing noncompliance was commonplace.
“Over 400 Australian asthmatics die each year, and there has been a recent spike in the number of child deaths, so asthma control can be, literally, a matter of life and death,” the foundation CEO Michele Goldman said in a media statement.
“A review of the PBS system, with a view to reducing the disparity between the cost of asthma reliever and preventer medication for non-concession card holders, is clearly needed.”
Among 859 respondents to an online survey, half (49%) of the adult asthma patients said they took less medication or went without it because of cost.
Some 38% of patients found cost to be “usually or always” an issue for them.
The survey found that 81% of those skipping medications were failing to take preventers, 26% forgoing relievers and 7% not complying with other prescribed respiratory drugs such as oral steroids.
Online comments from patients said paying for medication was “a huge struggle”, particularly if several family members required it.
One patient described having a major asthma attack leading to a six-day spell in hospital because of poor compliance.