Patients skimping on prescription drugs

Sept. 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- A Consumer Reports survey suggests people are skimping on healthcare and prescriptions because of cost concerns.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center said Tuesday an annual survey found the percentage of people who reported skimping on medication and other forms of health care rose by 9 percentage points from 39 to 48 percent.

Forty-eight percent of people who take at least one prescription medicine said they took steps to save money, including putting off a doctor's visit, delaying a medical procedure or declining a medical test.

Within that group, 28 percent said they took significant risks with their medication to save money, including 16 percent who said they did not fill a prescription, 13 percent who took an expired medication and 4 percent who said they shared a prescription with someone else.

The survey found many doctors don't talk with patients about drug costs, with only 5 percent of respondents saying they found out about the cost of a prescribed drug at the doctor's office.

"If a patient can't afford their medication, that's something his or her doctor needs to know," said Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. "But to find out, doctors have to ask."

Consumer reports said 1,226 adults who currently take a prescription drug were interviewed June 2-6. The sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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