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POSTED: May 5, 2013 4:00 p.m.

Just because the doctor prescribes a medication doesn’t mean we take it.
A recent study by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that many of us avoid purchasing or taking the drugs that are prescribed for us in an attempt to save money. It’s no wonder: In one year alone, we spend more than $45 billion in out-of-pocket drug costs.
The results of the CDC study were broken down into two age groups — those 18-64 and those 65 and older. Here are some of its findings:
• Younger adults were twice as likely as seniors to skip needed medications to save money.
• Some 23 percent of uninsured adults between 18 and 64 skipped taking their medications to reduce costs, compared with about 14 percent of those with Medicaid and 9 percent with private insurance.
• About 13 percent of patients ages 18-64 did not take medication as prescribed, including missing doses, taking less medicine and delaying filling a prescription.
• Twenty percent asked their doctor for a lower-cost medication — equally split between those over and under age 65. However, for seniors over age 65, those on Medicare-only were the largest group in both asking for a cheaper prescription and not taking the medication as prescribed.
• Two percent bought prescription drugs from another country — equally split between those over and under 65.
• Six percent of patients ages 18-64 used alternative therapies — three times as many under as the over 65 group.
Overall, not taking prescribed medication results in increased emergency-room visits, poor health status, increased hospitalization and cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, to the tune of $290 billion per year.
As an alternative to skipping medications, request a cheaper alternative, such as a generic. Ask for help with diet and exercise to increase levels of health. If you have insurance, inquire about a prescription rider to your policy to cover drugs.
Research pharmaceutical companies that give free or reduced medications to those who qualify as low-income. Go to pparx.org, or call 1-888-477-2669 to see if you qualify.
Also, check drug discounts at familywize.org.

 

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