13 Million Americans Skip Taking Prescribed Drugs Due To High Costs

A growing number of Americans say they're skipping doses of their prescribed medication due to the skyrocketing drug prices.

The high costs of prescription drugs are forcing millions to delay or forgo medications they can't afford. A survey by the Urban Institute found that in the years right before the pandemic, almost 13 million adults delayed or did not get their drugs. Fredric Blavin, a principal research associate, says the rising costs have hurt people from all backgrounds.

“These unmet need for prescription drugs were most common among women, those with low incomes, and I think mostly importantly, those with multiple chronic health conditions, which could potentially have serious implications for someone’s health,” Blavin said.

He notes that their numbers were taken from 2018 and 2019, which was before the economic downturn.

“Even though prescription drugs account for about 14% of national health spending, they do represent nearly 22% of out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and around 17% of costs for privately insured adults,” Blavin explained.

The study was prompted by efforts in Washington to lower prescription costs. Democrats say they can limit out-of-pocket spending with their Build Back Better Act. However, Republicans say the president's bill will not result in lower drug prices.

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