Inequality in healthcare has been identified in many contexts. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study investigating age inequity in the form of prescription patterns of biologics in psoriasis care.
To determine whether psoriasis patients have equitable opportunities to receive biologic medications as they age. If patients do not receive equitable treatment, a subsequent objective is to determine the magnitude of the disparity.
A cohort of biologic-naïve psoriasis patients were analysed using Cox proportional hazard models to measure the impact of each additional year of life on the likelihood of initiating biologic treatment, after controlling for sex, body mass index, comorbidities, disease activity, and education level. A supporting analysis used a non-parametric graphical method to study the proportion of patients initiating biologic treatment as age increases, after controlling for the same covariates.
The Cox proportional hazards model results in a hazard ratio of a one year increase in age of 0.963 to 0.969 depending on calendar year stratification, which implies that an increase in age of 30 years corresponds to a reduced likelihood of initiating biologic treatment by 61.3-67.6%. The estimated proportion of patients initiating biologic medication is always decreasing as age increases, at a statistically significant level.
Psoriasis patients have fewer opportunities to access biologic medications as they age. This result was shown to be applicable at all stages in a patient's life course and was not only restricted to the elderly, although it implies greater disparities as the age difference between patients increases. These results show that inequity in access to biologic treatments due to age is prevalent in clinical practice today. Further research is needed to investigate the extent to which this result is influenced by patient preferences.
2016. Vol. 174, no 3, 579-587 p.