Ethnic differences in access to prescription medication because of cost in New Zealand

Jatrana, Santosh, Crampton, Peter, and Norris, Pauline (2011) Ethnic differences in access to prescription medication because of cost in New Zealand. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 65 (5). pp. 454-460.

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Objectives This paper aims to examine ethnic differences in financial barriers to access to prescription medication in New Zealand.

Methods Data from SoFIE-Health (wave 3), which is an add-on to the Statistics New Zealand-led longitudinal Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE) (N=18 320), were analysed using logistic regression, adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, health behaviour and health variables. Financial barriers to access to prescription items were measured by the following question: ‘In the past 12 months, have there been any times when a doctor gave you a prescription, but you didn’t collect one or more of these items because you could not afford the cost?’.

Results The odds of deferring buying a prescription at least once during the preceding 12 months because they could not afford the cost of the prescription were greater for Maori and Pacific people than for NZ Europeans (OR 2.98, 95% CI 2.56 to 3.47 vs OR 3.52, 95% CI 2.85 to 4.35). Adjusting for potential confounders attenuated the ORs to 1.31 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.58) for Maori people and to 2.17 (95% CI 1.68 to 2.81) for Pacific people. Deferring buying medications because of cost was also associated with increased odds of poor self-reported health status, high/very high psychological stress and the presence of two or more comorbid conditions.

Conclusion Ethnicity plays a critical role in facilitating or impeding access to primary health care. This suggests that policy measures to further reduce financial barriers to buying medication may improve access to care for everyone including Maori and Pacific people and may have positive health implications.

Item ID: 71024
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1470-2738
Copyright Information: © 2011, Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2021 22:17
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420319 Primary health care @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280112 Expanding knowledge in the health sciences @ 70%
20 HEALTH > 2002 Evaluation of health and support services > 200204 Health inequalities @ 30%
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