Prescription costs forcing some patients to skimp on treatment

Although patients skimped on prescription drugs because of financial concerns at every age, patients aged 64 years or younger were more likely to do so.

Prescription costs forcing some patients to skimp on treatment
Prescription costs forcing some patients to skimp on treatment

HealthDay News -- Almost one in 10 American patients don't take their medications as prescribed because they can't afford to, a data brief published by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics indicates.

To determine the strategies used by adults to reduce their prescription drug costs, Robin A. Cohen, PhD, of the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2013 National Health Interview.

Overall, 7.8% of adults admitted not taking medication as recommended because of high costs. Insurance was a key factor in whether patients took their medications as prescribed. Among adults aged 63 years or younger, 6.1% with private insurance skipped medications to save money, compared with 10.4% of those with Medicaid and 14.0% of uninsured patients.

Patients with incomes below 139% of the poverty level (about $27,300 for a family of three in 2014) were most likely not to take medication as prescribed because of limited finances, found the investigators.

According to the report, 15.1% of U.S. adults have asked their doctor for a lower-cost alternative. Moreover, 1.6% reported purchasing prescription drugs from another country -- where medications may or may not be regulated -- and 4.2% have tried alternative therapies.

Although the scientists found that patients skimped on prescription drugs because of financial concerns at every age, patients aged 64 years or younger were more likely to do so.

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