HCFO Findings Brief: Does Medication Adherence Lower Medicare Spending Among Beneficiaries with Diabetes?

July 2011

Much of the research to date on the effects of medication adherence has focused on health outcomes and medical costs. Analyses of the studies examining the relationship between improved adherence and lower spending have suffered from methodological shortcomings, making findings somewhat controversial. HCFO-funded researcher, Bruce Stuart, Ph.D., University of Maryland at Baltimore, and colleagues designed a medication adherence study with an eye toward addressing prior methodological limitations. Their analyses explored the role of health behaviors in combination with medication adherence to control costs. In their analysis, the researchers concluded that higher medication adherence among diabetic Medicare beneficiaries resulted in lower medical spending.