Some consumers report skimping on medicine to stretch their dollar

For cash paying consumers or those with high deductible health plans, the cost of prescription medications may add to the pain and discomfort of a disease or illness.

Fifty percent of the U.S. public reported taking prescription medicines at the time of a Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll conducted June 2 through 9, 2015. About 25 percent of that group said they or a family member decided not to fill a prescription in the previous 12 months because of the cost. Cutting pills in half or skipping doses were mentioned by 18 percent for the same reason. Among poorer households, one-third of those polled said that affording prescriptions was “difficult,” compared to 21 percent overall.
Similar findings were substantiated through polling by Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs.

That research showed that “45 percent of people regularly take a prescription drug, and on average, take between four and five medications.”
The Kaiser foundation also reported that 73 percent of polled consumers characterized prescription drug costs as “unreasonable.” Regarding causes for those perceived excessive costs, 76 percent identified pharmaceutical companies as setting the price too high, while 10 percent cited health insurance companies as requiring people to pay too much of the cost for prescriptions.

“There are multiple factors that have caused the fairly steep rise in some prescription medications,” according to Yari Valle, PharmD, manager for Northern Arizona Healthcare Outpatient Pharmacy. Among them, she cites “drug manufacturers setting their own prices, a patent system which delays the introduction of generic equivalents, the timeframe it takes the FDA to approve generic equivalents and limited competition and drug shortages.”

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