What people pay for medicine can vary widely depending on the type of drug, whether or not it's available as a generic and the pharmacy where the prescription is filled. Studies show that as the price of a drug increases, many people choose to change their dose by taking less or they stop taking it altogether. Both of these do-it-yourself, cost-saving measures can put people at risk for health complications.
There are safer ways to cut costs than skimping on—or skipping —the medicines you need. CFAH’s Be a Prepared Patient® resource, Paying for Prescription Medications explains various ways to get lower cost medication such as:
- Getting your pharmacist involved
- Asking for generics
- Seeking out patient assistant programs
- Working with your physician to eliminate drugs you don’t need
It also offers additional resources from experts like Consumer Reports, with a report on the best drugs for less, and the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, which offers access to more than 475 public and private programs to help patients get medicine for free or nearly free.
What if you're having trouble managing multiple medications?
A study published this June in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that:
- Nearly 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription drug
- More than 50 percent of Americans take two prescription drugs
- 20 percent of Americans are on five or more prescription medications
As CFAH President Jessie Gruman has pointed out, taking these medications in the right dose, at the right time (sometimes multiple times a day), and dealing with their side effects is difficult for many people to manage. Plus, not taking medication or not taking it properly (sometimes described as non-adherence) is estimated to cause over $100 billion in avoidable health care costs due to health complications, avoidable hospital visits and additional advanced treatment*.
The Be a Prepared Patient® resource, Managing Your Medications, offers suggestions to people who are trying to juggle various medications they must take to stay healthy.
*Avoidable Costs in U.S. Healthcare. IMS Institute of Healthcare Informatics. June, 2013.