Dr Elisabeth Wearne: The costs of taking multiple medicines – Views of health professionals

Listen to patients and health professionals speak about their experience with taking multiple medicines.

Dr Elisabeth Wearne
Main occupation: General practitioner
Years in clinical practice: 7
Qualifications: MBBS, FRACGP

Dr Elisabeth Wearne, GP, knows that affordability is a major issue for many of her patients and others in her area. She is concerned that people are more likely to believe unsubstantiated media reports and to stop taking their medicines if they are already struggling to pay for their medicines.

Oh, always, always. Cost is the biggest issue for people. We've got a reasonably high unemployment rate down here, so a lot of patients just can’t afford medication, particularly preventive medication. That means that they'll hook onto … I cannot believe the number of patients who will come in and they will have stopped taking something months ago, because they saw something on TV about it and perhaps a not very well-substantiated claim of safety and they stopped it, because they really couldn't afford it anyway, but now they've got more evidence in their head that it doesn't work or it's dangerous, or their friends are not taking it. 

So, I think cost is a really powerful detractor, but it's often just the straw that breaks the camel's back for people, in terms of stopping things.

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The Living with multiple medicines project was developed in collaboration with Healthtalk Australia.