Study Indicates Many Prescriptions For Kids On Medicaid Aren’t Getting Filled

Researchers have been looking into the amount of prescriptions that go unfilled for kids on Medicaid and they’ve found some pretty startling results: Almost 17,000 or 22% of prescriptions at two clinics went unfilled. Those findings mirror other studies along the same lines for adults, which have found discrepancies  from  16% to 24% of those medications never getting filled.

It’s a big problem when kids — or anyone, for that matter — don’t get the proper medications. If your condition isn’t being treated as it should, it could spiral into worse health outcomes, noted the lead researcher.

The study doesn’t explain why so many prescriptions were unfilled, but it did show that parents picked up certain prescriptions more than others, reports Reuters. Antibiotics and other meds to treat infections were filled 91% of the time, but vitamins and minerals only got filled at a rate of 65%, says the study in the journal Pediatrics.

“When your child has an ear infection and is in pain, you have much more of a sense of urgency,” said the study’s lead researcher. A vitamin or a mineral however, might not seem so important to a parent. Perhaps if pediatricians explained the medications better to parents, they might be more likely to see the need to fill those prescriptions.

The findings are based on 4,833 kids on Medicaid seen over two years at two clinics connected to the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. All the kids were on Medicaid, but researchers say some of the same problems could be mirrored in families with private insurance as well.

It’s all about convenience, so if parents have a tough time picking up meds they should tell their kids’ pediatricians along with any concerns or questions they have about the prescriptions, add researchers.

Kids’ prescriptions often going unfilled [Reuters]