Seniors who have trouble paying for prescription drugs may skip doses or never fill a prescription. They also may accept free samples from their doctor or enroll in a pharmacy industry-sponsored patient assistance program (PAP).
This 2006 survey of 14,322 Medicare beneficiaries sought to characterize the users of cost-saving programs and the effect of doctor-patient communication on participation. The respondents were predominantly White (86%), and had two or more chronic conditions (71%).
Only 1.3 percent of seniors reported participating in a PAP. Those who spoke to their doctor about medication costs were more likely to use PAPs than those who did not (1.9% versus 0.9%). However, those who did use PAPs were those most in need.