Research Finds COVID Pandemic Worsened Health Equity Gap
National survey conducted by the Morehouse School of Medicine and Teva Pharmaceuticals shows intensified impacts among vulnerable populations driven by lack of access to care.
- About 50% of healthcare consumers say they postponed or canceled healthcare services since the pandemic began
- 64% of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) delayed and/or canceled healthcare services during the pandemic
- 84% of physicians report an increase in new diagnoses of mental health conditions since the pandemic began
- 58% of healthcare consumers say they are likely to use telehealth to see/visit their doctor or healthcare provider after the pandemic
PARSIPPANY, N.J. – February 1, 2022 – As we approach the end of year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, 70% of healthcare consumers see a doctor or access health services regularly, while 25% of all healthcare consumers in the U.S. say it is difficult for them to access healthcare from high-quality doctors or hospitals. These findings were captured in a new national survey, State of Access to Healthcare in America, released today by Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE and TASE: TEVA) in collaboration with the Morehouse School of Medicine. The survey uncovered that access barriers due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted groups that are already likely to be more vulnerable, with caregivers (58%), women (53%), patients (74%), BIPOC (45%), and those with anxiety (29%) and depression (25%) reporting greater difficulty with healthcare access.
The Chicago-based Harris Poll, a market research and analytics company, conducted an online survey between September 30 and October 20, 2021, asking 4,188 U.S. consumers age 18+, and more than 600 healthcare providers (HCPs), including physicians, pharmacists and nurses, about their experiences accessing and providing healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey found that approximately 40% of HCPs report that the overall health of the patients they see has worsened since before the pandemic, while at the same time consumers are uncomfortable or limited in reaching the nearest hospital emergency room or urgent care facility, both due to the pandemic but also due to persistent barriers to accessing healthcare services.
Existing Access Barriers Alongside Fear of COVID-19 Exposure Caused Healthcare Consumers to Delay Care
Among healthcare consumers, 50% say they postponed or canceled healthcare services since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Routine exams, annual health checks, and dental care are most often avoided. Some 64% of healthcare providers also report that patients postponed or had to delay seeking healthcare due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those facing access issues are far more likely to delay or cancel a healthcare consultation for an adult or child in the household (cancel or delay an adult visit 70% - 77%; child visit 72% - 77%) compared to those who do not (cancel or delay an adult visit 36% - 49%; child visit 47% - 53%). Consumers who delayed care cited exposure to COVID-19 as the primary reason, but other reasons include inability to take time off, lack of childcare, or lack of transportation, especially for younger, Hispanic and lower-income households. Economic barriers were also a factor for BIPOC with 25% receiving unemployment benefits during the pandemic. Notably, one in ten consumers also report challenges with prescription access or medication shortages and this is a greater problem among younger healthcare consumers, urbanites, parents, and BIPOC.
“The survey results are clear: COVID-19 has widened the chasm,” said Morehouse School of Medicine President and CEO Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice. “This should further our resolve to address and eliminate health disparities in underserved, improving access to and the quality of care, as well as continuing to diversify the clinician workforce.”
More than 80% of Doctors Report Uptick in Mental Health Diagnoses
While 47% of physicians say their practice experienced a decrease in routine visits, 59% report increases in mental health consultations. A vast majority of physicians (84%) report an increase in new diagnoses of mental health conditions since the pandemic began; with nearly 2 in 3 (65%) also mentioning worsening conditions among pre-diagnosed patients. Mental health conditions (anxiety and depression) are reported more among Hispanic adults, women, younger adults, adults residing in lower income households or those with lower education.
“This important survey brings to light meaningful gaps in how Americans today access our healthcare system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many of those gaps greatly affecting vulnerable populations, and likely to persist also after the pandemic,” said Sven Dethlefs, Executive Vice President, North America Commercial, Teva Pharmaceuticals. “The results of this survey provide companies and other organizations objective information to help meet these healthcare challenges, create coalitions, enact change and drive action, particularly in underserved communities. We have been fortunate to collaborate with the Morehouse School of Medicine, as this organization is engaged in critical work to help those most impacted by healthcare access challenges and by the COVID-19 pandemic. Working collectively with a common mission of advancing better access to healthcare is of the utmost importance in the face of the unprecedented times we live in.”
Digital is Increasingly Important for Healthcare Needs, But It’s Not Accessible to All
Looking ahead, telehealth is expected to be a prominent approach for addressing healthcare needs and gaps to healthcare access, with 58% of consumers saying they are likely to use telehealth to see/visit their doctor or healthcare provider after the pandemic. Like healthcare consumers, three fourths of physicians and over half of pharmacists say they are likely to continue offering telehealth consultations even after the pandemic. However, telehealth is still not accessible by everyone, with more than 1 in 3 physicians and about half of pharmacists noting that most of the patients they serve are from low-income households and do not have the means to easily access telehealth. Three-fourths of physicians and 50% of pharmacists intend to provide virtual consultations even after the pandemic ends, but one third of healthcare providers report that access to telehealth is still limited for patients with low incomes.
As Healthcare Needs Increase, Consumers are Turning to a Broader Range of Solutions.
Although a majority of healthcare consumers (61%) note they rely on physicians for information, during COVID-19, more than 2 in 5 (44%) increasingly turned to other sources of information (e.g., internet searches, patient support groups and social media) to help them and their family access the resources they need. Nearly 40% also indicated relying more on other types of healthcare professionals besides doctors (e.g., nurses and pharmacists) for their healthcare needs. Most healthcare consumers (65%) also shared that they intended to pursue lower cost care options like using over the counter/generics over branded medicine, as well as look for smaller or low-cost clinics, among other solutions.
To learn more about the survey results, please visit https://www.tevausa.com/state-of-access-to-healthcare-in-america.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Teva from September 30 through October 20, 2021 among 4,188 U.S. Healthcare Consumers (U.S. adults ages 18+ who saw a healthcare provider, used any healthcare, or received any prescription medications in the past three (3) years), and 602 Healthcare Providers (201 PCPs, 201 NPs/PAs, and 200 Pharmacists). The survey also set quotas and accounted for African American and Hispanic respondents, as previous data has indicated this population to be even more heavily impacted by the pandemic. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please click here to view the full results.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE and TASE: TEVA) has been developing and producing medicines to improve people’s lives for more than a century. We are a global leader in generic and specialty medicines with a portfolio consisting of over 3,500 products in nearly every therapeutic area. Around 200 million people around the world take a Teva medicine every day, and are served by one of the largest and most complex supply chains in the pharmaceutical industry. Along with our established presence in generics, we have significant innovative research and operations supporting our growing portfolio of specialty and biopharmaceutical products. Learn more at www.tevapharm.com.
About Morehouse School of Medicine
Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation’s leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists, and public health professionals. An independent and private historically-Black medical school, MSM was recognized by the Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation’s number one medical school in fulfilling a social mission—the creation and advancement of health equity. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research, and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care. MSM is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master’s degrees. To learn more about programs and donate today, please visit www.msm.edu or call 404-752-1500.
Forward-Looking Statement of Teva Pharmaceuticals
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are based on management’s current beliefs and expectations and are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that could cause our future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from that expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. You can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “should,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “target,” “may,” “project,” “guidance,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe” and other words and terms of similar meaning and expression in connection with any discussion of future operating or financial performance. Important factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include risks relating to; our ability to successfully compete in the marketplace, including our ability to develop and commercialize biopharmaceutical products, competition for our specialty products, including AUSTEDO®, AJOVY and COPAXONE®; our ability to achieve expected results from investments in our product pipeline, our ability to develop and commercialize additional pharmaceutical products, and the effectiveness of our patents and other measures to protect our intellectual property rights; our substantial indebtedness; our business and operations in general, including uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our business, financial condition, operations, cash flows, and liquidity and on the economy in general, our ability to successfully execute and maintain the activities and efforts related to the measures we have taken or may take in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated costs therewith, costs and delays resulting from the extensive pharmaceutical regulation to which we are subject or delays in governmental processing time due to travel and work restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; compliance, regulatory and litigation matters, including failure to comply with complex legal and regulatory environments; other financial and economic risks; and other factors discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, including in the section captioned “Risk Factors.” Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or other information contained herein, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You are cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
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