Americans Struggling With High Cost of Prescription Drugs

Adults younger than 65 years twice as likely to report not filling needed prescriptions due to cost versus seniors
woman and son at pharmacy
woman and son at pharmacy

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MONDAY, Sept. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated 15.5 million U.S. adults younger than 65 years went without medication due to high drug costs, according to the results of a survey released by West Health/Gallup.

A national sample of adults participated in monthly online surveys: Jan. 25 to 31, 2021 (4,098 respondents); March 15 to 21, 2021 (3,905 respondents); April 19 to 25, 2021 (3,731 respondents); and June 14 to 20, 2021 (4,843 respondents).

The survey revealed that 15.5 million younger adults (<65 years) and 2.3 million seniors were unable to pay for at least one doctor-prescribed medication in their household. Twice as many younger adults reported not filling needed prescriptions in the previous three months versus seniors (8 versus 4 percent). The findings by age were similar for skipping pills to cut costs (13 versus 6 percent). Even adults with chronic conditions report difficulty affording prescriptions (diabetes: 12 percent; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: 12 percent; immune-compromised: 15 percent), at a rate that is nearly twice that of Americans overall.

"Prescription drugs don't work if you cannot afford them," Dan Witters, Gallup senior researcher, said in a statement. "All ages, race and ethnic groups, political parties, and income levels are reporting that they are struggling to afford medications."

Survey Findings

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