Drug Prices Are Making Americans Sicker
High drug prices are a public health crisis.
Americans die and get sicker every day from not taking needed medication.
With RxSOS, last year, we listed sobering statistics showing that tens of millions of Americans do not take prescription medication because drug prices are too high. Here’s why this is a public health crisis:
- 25 million Americans report becoming sicker because they are not taking medication due to its cost. 1
- An estimated 150 million prescriptions go unfilled each year due to prescription costs. 2,3
- 125,000 deaths occur per year among patients with heart disease due to prescription non-adherence. And that’s just for heart disease. The number of deaths per year among all conditions due to cost-related non-adherence is unknown. 4
- Americans who skip medication due to cost are almost twice as likely to experience a significant decline in overall health over 2 years of follow up. 5
- USA Today/Kaiser Family Foundation/ Harvard School of Public Health Health Care Costs Survey, 2005. 20% of survey respondents report not filling a prescription due to cost; and 54% of those said their condition got worse as a result. Extrapolated to the 2012 population of adults 18 and older, (234,564,071), that is 25 million.
- McCarthy R. The Price You Pay for the Drug Not Taken. Business Health 1998. Reports that 20% of prescriptions go unfilled, and 15% of those go unfilled because the drug costs are too high.
- IMS National Prescription Audit PLUS reports 4.024 billion prescriptions dispensed in 2011. If 80% of prescriptions written are dispensed, then 5.03 billion prescriptions were written. 15% of 20% of 5.03 billion is around 150 million prescriptions forgone due to cost.
- McCarthy, R. The Price You Pay for the Drug Not Taken.Business Health 1998. Quote from Daniel Gerner, chairman at the time of Healthcare Compliance Packaging Council.
- Heisler et. al, The Health Effects of Restricting Prescription Medication Use Because of Cost. Medical Care, Volume 42, Number 7, July 2004
Tens of millions of Americans are not taking prescribed medication because drug prices in the United States are too high. Here are the facts:
- 25 million Americans did not take prescribed medication in 2009 due to cost, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1997 to 2009, the percentage of Americans not taking their medications due to cost nearly doubled increasing from 4.8 to 8.4%.1
- 48 million Americans ages 19-64 did not fill a prescription due to cost in 2010, according to the Commonwealth Fund – a 66% increase since 2001.2
- 3.4 million Medicare enrollees stop taking their medication due to the coverage gap.3
- Prescription non-Adherence adds $290 billion to America’s healthcare costs.4
- Health, United States, 2010, National Center for Health Statistics, 2011.
- The Commonwealth Fund, 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey.
- Polinski JM, Shrank WH, Huskamp HA, Glynn RJ, Liberman JN, et al.2011 Changes in Drug Utilization during a Gap in Insurance Coverage: An Examination of the Medicare Part D Coverage Gap. PLoS Medicine.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 76 FR 12969. March 2011. Campaign To Improve Poor Medication Adherence.