Almost half of under-65s skip scripts because of cost

Even more Americans are forgoing their prescription drugs this year than last. According to a new survey from Consumer Reports, 45% of under-65s who don't have drug coverage aren't taking their meds properly because they can't afford it. That's up from 27% last year.

Medicare Part D showed what a difference drug coverage could make in prescription drug use. With employers cutting back on benefits--requiring bigger co-pays, for example--drugmakers have stepped in with co-pay assistance for some drugs to keep the sales coming. Every prescription that goes unfilled is a missed opportunity for pharma companies.

To pay for their drugs, patients lacking drug benefits are cutting back elsewhere. More than half are spending less on entertainment and dining, while almost half are spending less on groceries.

Even those whose insurance does offer prescription drug benefits are feeling strapped when it comes to buying drugs. They're cutting back on entertainment (28%) and groceries (21%) as well, to help pay their share of drug costs.

As Consumer Reports points out, the average patient's share of drug costs in the under-65 age group is $63 per month. The magazine suggests substituting over-the-counter drugs and splitting pills, when appropriate.

The survey contradicts some other research that found fewer patients were skipping doctor's visits and avoiding medical tests for budgetary reasons this year than last.

- read the PharmaTimes story

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