Objective To investigate whether cost-related non-collection of prescription medication is associated with a decline in health.
Settings New Zealand Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE)-Health.
Participants Data from 17 363 participants with at least two observations in three waves (2004–2005, 2006–2007, 2008–2009) of a panel study were analysed using fixed effects regression modelling.
Primary outcome measures Self-rated health (SRH), physical health (PCS) and mental health scores (MCS) were the health measures used in this study.
Results After adjusting for time-varying confounders, non-collection of prescription items was associated with a 0.11 (95% CI 0.07 to 0.15) unit worsening in SRH, a 1.00 (95% CI 0.61 to 1.40) unit decline in PCS and a 1.69 (95% CI 1.19 to 2.18) unit decline in MCS. The interaction of the main exposure with gender was significant for SRH and MCS. Non-collection of prescription items was associated with a decline in SRH of 0.18 (95% CI 0.11 to 0.25) units for males and 0.08 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.13) units for females, and a decrease in MCS of 2.55 (95% CI 1.67 to 3.42) and 1.29 (95% CI 0.70 to 1.89) units for males and females, respectively. The interaction of the main exposure with age was significant for SRH. For respondents aged 15–24 and 25–64 years, non-collection of prescription items was associated with a decline in SRH of 0.12 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.21) and 0.12 (95% CI 0.07 to 0.17) units, respectively, but for respondents aged 65 years and over, non-collection of prescription items had no significant effect on SRH.
Conclusion Our results show that those who do not collect prescription medications because of cost have an increased risk of a subsequent decline in health.
- PUBLIC HEALTH
- PRIMARY CARE
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