Prescription Medications Not Affordable For One In Seven Americans

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Prescription drugs have become like health insurance. They are now less affordable for an average American. The number of Americans under age 65 who went without prescribed medicines because they couldn't afford them increased from one in 10 in 2003 to one in seven in 2007, according to a study released Thursday by the nonprofit Center for Studying Health System Change.

Three in 10 low-income Americans, almost one in four adults on Medicaid or state insurance programs, and one in 10 working-age people with employer-sponsored coverage said they had problems affording drugs in 2007, The New York Times reported.

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Overall, about 36.1 million children and adults under age 65 didn't have prescriptions filled in 2007 due to cost.

The current number of people who can't afford prescription drugs may be even higher due to the economic meltdown, according to study lead author Laurie E. Felland, a senior health researcher at the center.

"Our findings are particularly troublesome given the increased reliance on prescription drugs to treat chronic conditions," she told The Times. "People who go without their prescriptions experience worsening health and complications."

The study findings are based on an analysis of data from 10,400 adults under age 65 who took part in the 2007 national Health Tracking Household Survey.

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