Understanding the patient experience of cost-related non-adherence to prescription medications through typology development and application Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Many patients report skipping doses, splitting pills, or not filling prescriptions due to out-of-pocket costs-a phenomenon known as cost-related non-adherence (CRNA). This study investigated CRNA from the patient's perspective, and, to our knowledge, is the first study to undertake a qualitative investigation of CRNA specifically. We report the results from 35 semi-structured interviews conducted in 2014-15 with adults in four Canadian cities across two provinces. We used framework analysis to develop a CRNA typology to characterize major factors in patients' CRNA decisions. Our typology identifies four major components: (1) the insurance reason driving the drug cost, (2) the individual's overall financial flexibility, (3) the burden of drug cost on the individual's budget, and (4) the importance of the drug from the individual's perspective. The first two components set the context for CRNA and the final two components are the drivers for the CRNA decision. We also found four major patterns in CRNA experiences: (1) CRNA in individuals with low financial flexibility occurred for all levels of drug importance and all but the lowest level of cost burden; (2) CRNA for high importance drugs only occurred when the drug cost had a high burden on an individual's budget; (3) CRNA in individuals with more financial flexibility primarily occurred in drugs with medium importance but high or very high cost burdens; and (4) CRNA for low importance drugs occurred at almost all levels of drug cost burden. Our study furthers the understanding of how numerous factors such as income, insurance, and individual preferences combine and interact to influence CRNA and suggests that policy interventions must be multi-faceted or encourage significant insurance redesign to reduce CRNA.


  • Goldsmith, Laurie J
  • Kolhatkar, Ashra
  • Popowich, Dominic
  • Holbrook, Anne Marie
  • Morgan, Steven G
  • Law, Michael R

publication date

  • December 2017