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People trade in years of life to avoid taking daily pill

by Ion Gireada on 4 February 2015
Health, Lifestyle     |      cost of living,  daily pill,  heart disease,  medication

People taking an online survey indicate they would risk an earlier death rather than take a daily pill to prevent heart disease.

It comes down to the total cost of at least $1,000 of avoiding taking a pill every day for the rest of their lives.

Dr. Robert Hutchins of the University of California, San Francisco said the study “reinforces the idea that many people do not like taking pills, for whatever reason.”

“Most physicians I know are very well aware of that, however, so it reiterates that we should be having discussions with patients about what their priorities are, and if they value the extended life they might get from taking a pill more than the effect on their quality of life for having to take that pill every day for the rest of their life,” Hutchins added..

In the survey Hutchins and his colleagues designed, respondents were asked how much time at the end of their lives people would be willing to give up to avoid taking a pill every day to prevent heart disease. Also, they were asked how much people would pay to avoid taking a pill, and how much of a risk of dying they would accept in exchange for avoiding the daily preventive pill. The pill would be free, with no side effects.

The survey was filled out by 1,000 people, mostly women, aged 50, on average.

According to statistics, four out of five people take daily medication, and 54 percent take at least three pills a day.

In the survey, about 70 percent said they would not trade any weeks of their lives to avoid taking a pill daily. However, more than 8 percent said they were ready to trade up to two years to avoid daily pills, and about 21 percent opted between one week and a year.

On average, respondents said they’d pay $1,445 to avoid taking a pill each day for the rest of their lives, and 41 percent said they wouldn’t pay any amount.

Dr. Mario Garcia, chief of the Division of Cardiology and co-director of the Montefiore-Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care in New York was concerned that study participants might not accurately reflect the general population.

“Clearly people will be compliant if they don’t have any side effects,” he said, “On the other hand, they probably wouldn’t be willing to pay out-of-pocket too much.

People trade in years of life to avoid taking daily pill

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