Yonkers, NY (PRWEB) September 13, 2012
Consumer Reports’ annual prescription drug poll finds that many American consumers rely on multiple prescription drugs and are so strapped for cash that they can’t afford to pay for them. They are also foregoing routine doctors’ appointments and declining medical tests and procedures. Since last year, individuals under the age of 65 without a prescription drug benefit have been especially hard hit, with nearly half (45 percent) of them not filling their prescriptions because of cost, versus 27 percent last year, an increase of 19 percentage points.
“Americans are in serious financial distress and now, more than ever, they need to be thinking about their health. With everything we know about the relationship between stress and health, it is very worrisome to think that people aren’t getting the care they need,” said John Santa, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.
Poor Doctor-Patient Communication
The poll was conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center using a telephone survey of a total of 1,158 interviews with adults 18 years of age and older (see complete methodology on page 2). According to the poll, in addition to foregoing medical care, consumers are reluctant to confide in the professionals who are in the best position to help cut costs. High numbers of all survey respondents reported being uncomfortable discussing personal financial difficulties with their pharmacist (68 percent) or their physician (47 percent). “This is a very serious red flag. Patients need to speak up, but doctors have a role too. An important part of a physician’s professional obligations includes assistance navigating stressful financial times—especially when part of the stress is related to the health care a physician orders or provides. For most physicians, their goal is to care for the whole patient not just the portion carrying the wallet,” said Santa.
Nearly Half Taking 4 Prescriptions; 14 Percent Taking 7 or More
Nearly half (46 percent) of U.S. adults currently take prescription drugs and among them the average number of prescriptions taken is 4.1. Surprisingly, one quarter (25 percent) of those ages 18-39 regularly takes two prescription medicines, suggesting that reliance on multiple prescription drugs is no longer confined to older Americans.
The economy’s negative effects have been most profoundly felt by those under the age of 65 without insurance for medications, and their fate has worsened since last year. A tremendous number—81 percent—said that over the last year they had done one of the following:
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey using a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. A total of 1,158 interviews were completed among adults 18+ who currently take a prescription drug. Interviewing took place May 24-June 3, 2012. The sampling error is +/-2.9 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.
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