Unfilled Prescriptions Contribute to Health System Woes

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High prescription drug costs for the uninsured and underinsured lead to countless unfilled prescriptions. Those unfilled prescriptions cost the nation billions of dollars, damage the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Americans and, as a cruel irony, drive up prices even more.

A Kaiser Foundation study notes that nearly fifteen percent of those with medical insurance have left prescriptions unfilled because of costs concerns. The same study found that nearly one-third of senior citizens have left prescriptions unfilled due to an inability to pay. These findings are consistent with a statement from Dispensing Solutions that notes, “The pharmacy industry currently reports that about 30% of prescriptions written by physicians are never filled by the patient.”

Those numbers don’t surprise Rex Bowden, Jr., the Chief Risk Officer for “Those in the prescription drug gap are forced to make very difficult decisions. In many cases, they are simply unable to meet the costs of their drugs. Unfortunately, they leave prescriptions unfilled.”

Bowden argues that these unfilled prescriptions are one of the “hidden problems” in the current system. “People don’t think about the unfilled prescription problem, but it’s a very real issue. It damages health, increases societal costs and contributes to growing prescription drug costs.”

Bowden isn’t alone in his assessment. Erica Siguer of Harvard Medical School has noted that, “The health implications of missed doses and unfilled prescriptions, especially given the chronic nature of many ailments among the elderly, is cause for concern.” Sam Ervin, the Chief Executive Officer of SCAN, a non-profit social HMO has explained, “Failure to take medications as prescribed is ultimately a cost to taxpayers. One study estimated that unfilled prescriptions cost our country as much as $25 billion in 1996, not including the indirect costs of decreased functioning and reduced quality of life.”

“The failure to have those important prescriptions put to use is an unmitigated disaster,” argues Bowden. “The patients’ health is at risk and the resultant deterioration in their conditions leads to even more costly treatment requirements. At the same time, pharmacies are forced to bear restocking expenses and deal with other problems that drive up prescription costs for everyone.”

Lower prescription costs should serve to decrease the number of unfilled prescriptions. Bowden’s company,, is working toward that goal by offering a free discount coupon card that can reduce drug costs by as much as seventy-five percent.

“The reasoning is simple,” he states. “We’ve found a way to reduce the cost of those medications, we’ll see fewer unfilled prescriptions. That works to everyone’s benefits. It reduces overall healthcare costs, improves overall health, and removes one of the factors contributing to high-cost prescriptions.”

Cardholders can use YourRxCard at over 55,000 pharmacies nationwide, including many of the largest and most-recognized chains. “A discount card won’t solve all of the health systems problems,” observes Bowden, “but it can assist in solving the unfilled prescription problem.”


Rex Bowden Jr.


11608 Darryl Drive

Baton Rouge, LA 70815

Phone: 225-266-7941


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