The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5105.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 1:00 PM

Abstract #50745

Effects of add-on copayment of prescription drugs on drug use by disabled elderly

AtoZ Okamoto, Department of Technology Assessment & Biostatistics, Systematic Review Section, National Institute of Public Health, 2-3-6, Minami, Wako-shi, Saitama, 351-0197, Japan, +81-48-458-6111(x2715),

In September 1997, Japan introduced add-on copayment on prescription drugs indexed to the number of drugs prescribed. It was also applied to elderly population, who had been entitled to unlimited medical care with only a nominal ($3 per visit) fixed copayment. The author estimated the size of negative impact of the add-on copayment on the number of prescription drugs and how it affected the disabled elderly differently from the non-disabled elderly of the same age. Data were obtained from “Social Insurance Claims Survey (SICS)”, a sampling survey on health insurance claims. The data from 1997 and 1998 surveys were used to compare the numbers of prescription drugs per claim before and after the introduction of the add-on copayment. A subpopulation aged between 65 and 69 was focused because this was the only age group in which the data was broken down by the status of disability. Before the introduction of the new copayment, the number of prescription drugs per claim was 3.32 and 4.05 for non-disabled and disabled elderly respectively. The number declined to 3.01 and 3.89 respectively after the new copayment. The non-disabled elderly showed a 16.1% reduction on the number of prescription drugs while disabled elderly showed only a 3.9% reduction. The add-on copayment reduced the drug use by elderly but showed a far smaller impact on disabled elderly. This finding suggests the price inelasticity of drug use by disabled elderly and the new add-on copayment had simply increased economic burden on disabled population.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Physiological and Pharmacological Health Issues among Older Adults

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA