INTRODUCTION: Using nationally representative survey data from China and India, this study examined (1) the distribution and patterns of multimorbidity in relation to socioeconomic status and (2) association between multimorbidity and out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) for medicines by socioeconomic groups.
METHODS: Secondary data analysis of adult population aged 45 years and older from WHO Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) India 2015 (n=7397) and China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) 2015 (n=11 570). Log-linear, two-parts, zero-inflated and quantile regression models were performed to assess the association between multimorbidity and OOPE for medicines in both countries. Quantile regression was adopted to assess the observed relationship across OOPE distributions.
RESULTS: Based on 14 (11 self-reported) and 9 (8 self-reported) long-term conditions in the CHARLS and SAGE datasets, respectively, the prevalence of multimorbidity in the adult population aged 45 and older was found to be 63.4% in China and 42.2% in India. Of those with any long-term health condition, 38.6% in China and 20.9% in India had complex multimorbidity. Multimorbidity was significantly associated with higher OOPE for medicines in both countries (p<0.05); an additional physical long-term condition was associated with a 18.8% increase in OOPE for medicine in China (p<0.05) and a 20.9% increase in India (p<0.05). Liver disease was associated with highest increase in OOPE for medicines in China (61.6%) and stroke in India (131.6%). Diabetes had the second largest increase (China: 58.4%, India: 91.6%) in OOPE for medicines in both countries.
CONCLUSION: Multimorbidity was associated with substantially higher OOPE for medicines in China and India compared with those without multimorbidity. Our findings provide supporting evidence of the need to improve financial protection for populations with an increased burden of chronic diseases in low-income and middle-income countries.
- Health Expenditures
- Longitudinal Studies
- Cross-Sectional Studies