Nearly 8% of adults do not take their medication as prescribed in an effort to save money, according to a data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Using data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, the report also found that about 15% of adults had asked their doctor for a lower-cost drug, while about 4% used alternative therapies instead and 1.6% purchased prescription drugs from another country. Further findings from the report show that people younger than 65 were nearly twice as likely not to take their medication as prescribed to save money as people aged 65 and older. Uninsured adults aged 18 to 64 were more likely than those with Medicaid or private insurance to have not taken their medication as prescribed to save money. The poorest adults—those with incomes below 139% of the federal poverty level—were the most likely to not take medication as prescribed to save money.
Shopping around is one approach to helping reduce medication costs. Earlier research from Consumer Reports found that consumers who do not shop around for their prescription drugs may be overpaying by as much as $100 a month or even more, depending on the drug. The ability for consumers to compare prescription drug prices easily is necessary to help them reduce their medication costs. Many states have drug comparison websites, or pricing guides that can help consumers shop around for the best prices on their prescription drugs. Additionally, the availability of prescription drug price comparison mobile apps is also assisting consumers in this comparison process. These mobile apps, while easy easy-to-use, can also offer consumers money-saving tips, information about generic and pharmacy rewards programs, search by condition, and the option to search for pharmacies by ZIP code or detect a user’s location using GPS.
- NCHS Data Brief No. 184 January 2015 National Center for Health Statistics, Strategies Used by Adults to Reduce Their Prescription Drug Costs: United States, 2013
- Consumer Reports: So Many Drugstores, So Many Prices; New Report Finds Price Mayhem at the Pharmacy
- Consumer Reports Can a phone app help you find cheaper drugs?