Objectives: To determine whether patient contribution to funding limits access to certain medicines, particularly among people with lower income levels; assess patient adherence to such medicines; and analyze population knowledge of the contribution to funding measures.
Methods: A multicenter study was made in four community pharmacies in Aragón (Spain), considering drug dispensation or non-dispensation as the dependent variable, with the collection of a series of general data (age, gender, drug specialty, price, therapeutic group, funding contribution code (TSI), information and chronic or starting treatment). Contingency tables contrasting dispensation or non-dispensation and the TSI of each patient were used, with application of the chi-squared test (χ2).
Results: A total of 279 of 316 medicines were dispensed, with active participation of the pharmacist. A little over one-half of the patients (59.8 %) had been previously informed of the measure. A statistically significant association (p = 0.022) was found between dispensation or non-dispensation and the contribution codes (percentages) TSI002 and TSI003. Eighty-six percent of the patients receiving chronic treatment continued such treatment.
Discussion: It has been shown that pensioners, with presumably lower income levels, have more limited access to these medicines, since a larger proportion of these people reject having to pay the full cost of the medication. The number of patients (particularly those still active) who are willing to pay for the medicines is greater than the number who do not accept dispensation. The role of the pharmacists has been shown to be crucial in securing adherence to the medications.