Co-payment scheme not backed by evidence

In an opinion piece in The Australian, UNSW academics John Kaldor, professor of epidemiology, and Nicholas Zwar, professor of general practice, said only 50 studies looking at the impact of co-payments have been conducted, mostly in Western Europe and Canada.

The results of these studies consistently showed lower levels of service usage when co-payments were introduced, and that people on lower incomes were particularly affected. 

However, it remains unclear how reduced service uptake impacts on health outcomes because the trials were not adequately powered to assess them. 

Professors Zwar and Kaldor said what is clear is that without an appropriately designed and resourced trial, there is absolutely no evidence that a co-payment has any health benefit.

“If a pharmaceutical company proposed marketing a drug that had no proven health benefit and there was some evidence that it was actually harmful to certain

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