No Copays, Easier Pills May Reduce Blood Pressure

New research from Kaiser Permanente in Northern California suggests giving patients easier-to-take medicine and no-copay medical visits can help drive down high blood pressure, a major contributor to poor health and untimely deaths nationwide. In 2001, Kaiser initiated an eight-year program involving more than 300,000 patients with high blood pressure. At the beginning, less than half had brought their blood pressure under control. That increased to 80 percent by 2009, well above the national average. Reductions continued even after the study ended; in 2011, 87 percent of roughly 350,000 Kaiser patients had recommended blood pressure levels. The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.