Study of the Qualitative Impact of Non-Medical Switching


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New study released on Non-Medical Switching

Key Findings

The study, which entailed two in-person focus groups followed by a national online poll of 800 patients who had endured a non-medical switch, revealed that non-medical switching most often occurs due to the insurer:

  • Restricting its formulary to exclude coverage for the patients’ original medicine (41%) or
  • Altering coverage in a way that increases patients’ out-of-pocket costs (33%).

Patients most often find out about the switch at the pharmacy counter (48%).

The switch can come as a real blow. Patients reported:

  • Placing a high value on having the right medicine (95%)
  • Depending upon their original medicine to go about their day-to-day lives (88%)
  • That it was tough to find that initial medicine that worked for them (60%).

The situation doesn’t get any better from there. Patients reported a slew of consequences, from an impact on their health to increased health care utilization.

  • Nearly 40 percent of patients said the new medicine was not as effective
  • Almost 60 percent experienced a complication from the new medication, such as a reemerging disease symptom, a new side effect or an interaction with another medication they take
  • Nearly one in 10 reported being hospitalized for complications after the switch.