Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Managing Prescription Drug Costs

Nearly half of Americans have taken a prescription drug in the past month, spending $45 billion out-of-pocket on medications each year. It's no wonder, then, that many find ways to cut spending on prescriptions. How they cut costs is the subject matter of the National Center for Health Statistics data brief, Strategies Used by Adults to Reduce their Prescription Drug Costs.

The most common strategy for lowering prescription drug costs is to simply ask a doctor for a cheaper medication. One in five adults has done that in the past year. Some buy prescription drugs from another country (2 percent) or use alternative therapies (6 percent of 18-to-64-year-olds and 2 percent of  people aged 65 or older).

A substantial 13 percent of people aged 18 to 64 and 6 percent of those aged 65 or older cut their costs by not taking medications as prescribed. This includes skipping doses, taking less medicine, and delaying filling a prescription. Not surprisingly, the uninsured are most likely to use this strategy, with 23 percent not taking medications as prescribed in the past 12 months.

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