Americans Have Trouble Paying for Drugs or Skip Prescriptions Due to Cost

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

A new poll, the third in a series conducted jointly by USA Today and public opinion researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, finds Americans greatly value prescription drugs‘ potential benefits for their families, but most believe they cost too much money and many struggle to pay for needed medicines.

  • Four in 10 Americans (and half of those regularly taking at least one medication) report experiencing at least one of three cost-related concerns in their family: 16 percent say it is a “serious” problem to pay for prescription drugs; 29 percent say they have not filled a prescription in the past two years because of the cost; and 23 percent say they have cut pills in half or skipped doses in order to make a medication last longer. People are most likely to report one of these three issues if they lack drug coverage (52 percent), if they have low incomes (54 percent) or if they take four or more drugs regularly (59 percent).
  • Nearly eight in 10 Americans say that the cost of prescription drugs is unreasonable, and seven in 10 say pharmaceutical companies are too concerned about making profits and not concerned enough about helping people. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the public say that there is not enough government regulation to limit the price of drugs. Nearly six in 10 say insurers should only pay for new drugs if they are proven to be not just safe but also more effective than existing ones.

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