Seniors Unable To Afford Prescription Drugs

Armen Hareyan's picture

Two-thirds of California seniors cannot afford their medications,and nine in 10 seniors want to be able to choose which medications areprescribed to them, according to a study published in the Decemberissue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the Honolulu Advertiser reports. For the study, Chien-Wen Tseng, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Hawaii John Burns School of Medicine and a physician investigator at the Pacific Health Research Institute, and colleagues surveyed 1,100 California residents who were at least 65 years old.


The researchers found that:

  • Four of five participants want physicians to ask them if they can afford drugs before the medications are prescribed;
  • 25% of participants skipped, stopped or never began taking treatments because of cost;
  • 16% of participants said their physician asked if they could afford treatments; and
  • Amongparticipants who stopped taking drugs, 17% said that their physicianhad checked to see if they could afford the treatments.

Tsengsaid that health plans should make it easier for physicians to see ifpatients' drugs are covered, including how close they are to theMedicare prescription drug benefit's so-called "doughnut hole" coveragegap. The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Wiles, Honolulu Advertiser, 12/7).

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