Effect of distributing essential medicines at no charge on adherence: the CLEAN Meds randomized controlled trial
To determine whether providing essential medicines at no charge to outpatients who reported not being able to afford medicines improves adherence is the objective of this randomized clinical trial.
In this randomized clinical trial of 786 primary care patients, free distribution of essential medicines vs usual access resulted in greater adherence to treatment with medicines (absolute risk difference, 11.6%). Control of type 1 and 2 diabetes was not significantly improved by free distribution of essential medicines (hemoglobin A1c, −0.38%), systolic blood pressure was reduced (−7.2 mm Hg), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were not affected (−2.3 mg/dL).
Distributing essential medicines at no charge increased adherence to appropriately prescribed treatment with medicines and improved some disease-specific surrogate health outcomes.