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Prescription Drug Roulette: Costs Forcing Americans to Play Dangerous Games With Health

Americans are scrimping to pay for their prescription medications, and some are playing dangerous games with their health as a result.

More than 80% of Americans who don’t have prescription drug coverage are not filling their prescriptions, skipping medical tests, passing on doctor’s appointments because of cost, or cutting corners elsewhere, a new Consumer Reports poll shows.

Nearly half of the adults polled did not fill a prescription because of cost in the past year, compared with 27% last year. This is the fourth year that Consumer Reports conducted the poll, and things seem to be getting worse.

“The jump from one year to the next was massive, bordering on a crisis,” says Lisa Gill. She is the editor of prescription drugs for Consumer Reports in Yonkers, N.Y.

The telephone poll showed that 46% of U.S. adults take prescriptions drugs. The average number of drugs is 4.1. And it’s not just the elderly who take multiple prescriptions. One quarter of people aged 18 to 39 take two prescription medications, the poll showed.

According to the poll, because of cost:

  • 62% of people declined a medical test.
  • 45% did not fill a prescription.
  • 63% delayed a doctor’s appointment.
  • 51% skipped a medical procedure.

Others spent less on groceries, their family, and/or put off paying bills to pay for their medications…

Read more: Denise Mann, WebMD

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