American job losses means 57.5M fewer prescriptions filled, study says

Loss of employment often reduces medication adherence through the subsequent loss of insurance and income, according to a study published Feb. 15 in International Journal of Health Services.

Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the research team found the growth in unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a 2.6 percent decrease in medication adherence and 57.5 million fewer prescriptions filled in 2020

Unemployment-related decreases in prescription fills were highest in states without expanded Medicaid eligibility, according to the study.

"Lower medication adherence, especially for chronic conditions, can result in not only poor health outcomes, but also avoidable healthcare costs in the future," the researchers wrote. "These downstream effects suggest an even greater economic cost associated with the pandemic."


Read the full study here.

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