Americans Skip Necessary Rx's Due to Rising Costs

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Principessa, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. Principessa

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    More Americans Skipping Necessary Prescriptions, Survey Finds


    By RONI CARYN RABIN

    One in seven Americans under age 65 went without prescribed medicines in 2007 as drug costs spiraled upward in the United States, a nonprofit research group said on Thursday.

    That figure is up substantially since 2003, when one in 10 people under 65 went without a prescription drug because they couldn’t afford it, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change in Washington, D.C.

    The current figure may be even higher because of the recent economic downturn, said Laurie E. Felland, a senior health researcher at the center and lead author of the study.

    “Our findings are particularly troublesome given the increased reliance on prescription drugs to treat chronic conditions,” she added. “People who go without their prescriptions experience worsening health and complications.”

    The people who were least able to afford medicine were often those who needed it most, Ms. Felland said: uninsured, working-age adults suffering from at least one chronic medical condition. Almost two-thirds of them in the survey said they had gone without filling a prescription.

    But even those with private health insurance provided by their employers were affected: one in 10 working-age Americans with employer-sponsored coverage went without a prescription medication in 2007, up from 8.7 percent in 2003, the study found.

    Among low-income Americans, three in 10 said they had been unable to fill a prescription because of cost, and nearly one in four adults on Medicaid or state insurance programs said they’d had difficulty affording drugs.

    Ms. Felland said a number of factors contributed to the trend, including rising drug prices, the tendency of physicians to prescribe drugs more frequently, the introduction of expensive new specialty medications, and skimpier drug coverage that shifts a greater share of costs onto patients.

    “Insurance coverage offers less financial protection against out-of-pocket costs than it did in the past,” she said.

    The study was based on results from the 2007 Health Tracking Household Survey, a nationally representative telephone survey of 10,400 adults under age 65, many of whom also discussed affordability of medications for their 2,600 children. Participants were asked whether there was a time in the previous 12 months when “you needed prescription medicines but didn’t get them because you couldn’t afford it.”

    Overall, 5 percent of children didn’t have prescriptions filled in 2007 because of cost, up from 3.1 percent in 2003, and 17.8 percent of working-age adults couldn’t afford drugs in 2007, up from 13.8 percent in 2003, the survey found. That translates into about 36.1 million Americans under 65 who were affected, according to the study.

    Karen Davis, president of the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that researches health care issues, said the new study confirms previous Commonwealth studies. In 2007, nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults, or an estimated 116 million people, struggled to pay medical bills, went without needed care because of cost, were uninsured for a time or were underinsured, according to the foundation.

    "It has become a middle class problem," she added, noting that improving health coverage is an integral part of economic recovery.

    "It’s not enough just to help people have jobs," she said. "They need to have adequate coverage, so they can get care when they need it and pay the bills they incur when they do seek care."



    This comes as no surprise to me as I haven't been able to afford to use two of my prescription medicines since moving to Georgia. I no longer take Advair or Provigil as it would bankrupt my family to do so. :frown1:
     
  2. MidwestGal

    MidwestGal Member

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    this is me. Medicare only covers certain medications and to a certain amount, so does medicaid. So, it's pick and choose what I take on what day and hope I don't have a worse day later on.

    When in reality if they filled my scripts as prescribed I would have less trips to the ER or hospital stays.
     
  3. Principessa

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  4. SpeedoMike

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    that's not a new phenomenon... several years ago I was prescribed two Rx and Wal-Mart pharmacy quoted a price of $550 per month. They were the cheapest of the pharmicies I checked.
     
  5. BiItalianBro

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    IMO the USA's healthcare system is so FUBAR that burning it to the ground and starting all over is looking like the best option. Every time they 'fix' something it creates 10 unforseen problems...not just for consumers but for providers. It is a political hornets nest like Social Security that no one wants to touch lest they risk political gang rape. It is shameful, immoral, a national embarrassment and I have no idea where to start with a solution :mad::mad::mad::mad:

    Can you tell I have strong feelings on this? lol
     
  6. JamieBoy

    JamieBoy New Member

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    On the contrary - (God, I've waited years to be able to write that..) - I'm certain there are SOME whose health may improve for not taking unnecessary prescription drugs.

    Many Physicians are merely licensed drug-pushers.
     
  7. suprdave

    suprdave Member

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    i'm taking 23 pills a day for lyme disease and my insurance just ran out so i think i'm going to be skipping alot of things. just 1 script was quoted at $580.00 a month, still trying to price the others.
     
  8. D_Hyacinth Harrytwat

    D_Hyacinth Harrytwat Account Disabled

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    This is a great example of when prescription medications are important and it's really sad that they should cost so much.



    I've really questioned what I would do if I was given a prescription and was told I had to take it for the rest of my life. I made a promise to myself when I was 15 that I'd never take another prescription, although I've made "The Pill" The Exception. I have some sort of neurological disease/disorder (this is what the doctors have narrowed it down to) and with my MRI next month, I could find out really soon that I'll have a $3000 prescription to fill every month.

    Now, how many people can say "oh no problem, I have an extra $36,000 a year to burn"? I've thought a lot about it. If my neurologist hands me a prescription that'll cost more than I earn in a year, I'll just hand it straight back to him.
     
  9. Principessa

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    Yup, that's where I go for all my prescriptions as well. I hate Walmart's labor practices but sometimes I have no choice. :irked: :mad:
     
  10. D_Bob_Crotchitch

    D_Bob_Crotchitch New Member

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    My own out of pocket medical expenses the last 20 years have come close to over $100,000 and I have good medical insurance. Most of it is job related. It would be nice if we could get some government help but the country is broke. It does bug me that people who have abused their bodies are part of the reason for the high cost of medical care. My dad abused his body for decades. The taxpayer and retiree insurance is having to pay a fortune for all of his heart care.
     
  11. Dave NoCal

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    Despite working at a university (as a full professor) and having health insurance, I've had to cut back on one of my medications that I use to keep Lyme disease beaten back due to my insurance simply refusing to pay for it. There is no generic available in the U.S., even though it is a pharmaceutical antique.
    Medication prices in the U.S. are criminal, plain and simple. In most of the world, this medication would cost about $20.00 per month. Here it's about $650.00. I could import from an overseas pharmacy but risk having my tax money used to have it seized by customs. It's improbable that I would be prosecuted. Maybe I'll drive down to San Diego... It's absurd!
    Dave
     
  12. midlifebear

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    I take an ACE inhibitor (enalipril) 10 mgs every day primarily because, although I don't have elevated hypertension it's been proven in many studies that ACE inhibitors prevent the development of many types of common heart disease. My dad's gerontologist took the stuff and because we're bascially the same age as well as body and dick type, he recommended I try it. My regular physician says there's no problem with it and it's probably a good idea. My brother takes Nexium for GERD (but if he lost abou 100 lbs the prooblem would probably go away). So, I buy 5 or six boxes of Nexium (90 count tablets, NOT capsules) and pass them off to him whenever I have the occasion to return to the USA.

    Now for the numbers:

    One box of 100 Enalipril 10 mgs each costs a whopping equivalent of U$S15.00.
    One box of 60 Nexium 20 or 40 mg tables, doesn't matter the strength, costs $12.00.

    The Nexium is made by Pfizer right here in Argentina. My brother can only buy the purple capsules, and generic ones at that. A bottle of 60 capsules costs him U$S90.00 at SAVON Drug in the USA.

    I do not need a prescription for either of these medications. I just go to the pharmacist and ask for them. In the USA my brother gets two refills with each prescription, after which he must visit his physician, pay the MediCare copayment for the doctor appointment and then his insurance will not cover his Nexium because it is for a pre-existing condition. Sweet. Makes me feel proud of my country that it cares so well for those who can least afford health care.

    Oh, and all pill delivery type medications are blister packed which means they have a much longer shelf life. So there's no need to go fumbling with a child-proof cap. And if you think you've missed a dose, you just count how many are left on the aluminum-backed blister pack card.
     
    #12 midlifebear, Jan 31, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  13. D_Hyacinth Harrytwat

    D_Hyacinth Harrytwat Account Disabled

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    Drug trafficking with a good cause... Awwww! :smile:

    I loved the reactions of Europeans every time I took out some gum - in the blister packs :biggrin1:

    Another benefit to the blister pack pills is that if you have to travel with a lot of pills (as I do) you don't have to stuff the empty space in the bottles. It's pretty embarassing to hoist your suitcase off the luggage carousel and hear the jingle jangle of hundreds of pills in plastic containers. There's nothing discreet about that. I wonder when North America will make the switch?
     
  14. nay-nay

    nay-nay New Member

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    my mom is on A LOT of meds and we can't afford them either, so she stays in iowa for half a year, then comes home for half a year. our tribe pays for her meds, so i guess she's lucky. she went a year w/out meds when we first moved here, and ended up getting put on even MORE when she returned to iowa a year later! :eek::mad: she had been exercising, eating better, and feeling the best she's ever felt. i just find it odd that she got put on even more pills. she goes up to iowa for half a year to take care of her mom. her and one of her sisters takes turns. so when the tribe asks where my mom is, and threatens to cut off her perscriptions, she goes back. before she leaves for louisiana...she stocks up on pills and then has my grandma pick them up at the pharmacy and mail them when she runs out.
     
  15. Not_Punny

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    I guess this is one way to handle the social security problem... :yikes:
     
  16. Pecker

    Pecker Retired Moderator
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    I have 6 prescriptions that I can get generically at Walmart at $10 each for a 3-month supply. There are 3 others that are name brands that I cannot afford so Pfizer gives them to me!

    All it takes is a talk with your doctor about expensive meds and his willingness to use generics where possible and to work with manufacturers to get the meds you cannot afford.
     
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