Unfilled Prescriptions

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Story Updated: Apr 2, 2014

Almost a third of patients fail to fill new prescriptions issued by their doctor, new research reveals.

The finding published in the Annals of Internal Medicine stems from an analysis of how nearly 16,000 people in Canada handled their prescriptions.

Local primary care doctors issued their patients more than 37,500 new prescriptions between 2006 and 2009.

Yet, 9 months after they were written, more than 31% remained unfilled.

Exactly why remains unclear but certain patterns emerged.

For example, the most expensive drugs and those with the highest co-pays were the least likely to be filled.

Prescriptions for skin, nervous system, and stomach conditions were also more likely to go by the wayside as were preventive meds for chronic conditions like depression and heart disease.

Recently hospitalized patients and those who were the sickest also had the worst filling rates.

By contrast, older patients were more likely to fill prescriptions than younger patients... as were those who visited their doctor often.

As for the most likely-to-be filled prescriptions?

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