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CDC: Adults in US Skipping Medicine to Save Money

Survey findings show lack of insurance, high-cost medicines have health impacts

by
Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Results from a CDC survey show how cash-strapped adults in the U.S. are skipping doses or delaying refilling prescriptions of medicines. (Photo: Images Money/flickr)

Results from a survey out Tuesday are underscoring the repercussions lack of healthcare insurance and high drug costs have on adults in the US.

Outlining the findings from their 2011 National Health Interview Survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that many adults are not taking medicine as prescribed—either skipping doses, delaying prescription refills or taking less medicine—as a way to save money, which the CDC says can lead to "poorer health status and increased emergency room use, hospitalizations, and cardiovascular events."

Other cost-saving measures included patients asking their doctor for a lower cost medication or buying the prescription medicine from out of the country.

The CDC found that the uninsured (23.1%) were more likely than those with private coverage (8.7%) and those with Medicaid (13.6%) to not take medication as prescribed, as the following graph shows:

Unsurprisingly, poverty was also a large factor in whether a patient took medicine as prescribed.

Among adults 18 - 64, 19.7% of those classified as poor did not take their medicine as prescribed in order to save money, compared to 9.6% of those in that age range classified as not poor. 

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