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Many Americans Going Without Prescription Medications Because Of Cost

According to a recent report by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), at least 36 million young and working-age Americans went without a prescribed medicine because of its cost in 2007. HSC’s 2007 Health Tracking Household Survey found that 14 percent of Americans under age 65 could not afford to fill at least one prescription in 2007, compared with 10 percent in 2003.

“The ability of many people to afford prescription drugs is likely to deteriorate as the economy continues to decline,” the report said.

Working-age, uninsured adults with at least one chronic disease experienced the most difficulties, with almost two-thirds saying they had to forgo prescribed medications in 2007.

The study found that the rate of affordability problems increased to 35 percent from 26 percent among uninsured adults, and from 9 percent to 11 percent among adults with employer-sponsored insurance. HSC attributed the increase in unmet needs among employed, insured adults to deteriorating drug coverage in employee health plans. Although children’s unmet drug needs are lower than adults’, the study found that their rate of affordability problems still rose from 3 percent to 5 percent.

The HSC report noted that pharmaceutical manufacturers do offer assistance programs for uninsured and low-income people, but “the programs are limited and enrollment can be complicated.”

For more information on the study, please click here.

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