Last month we reported on the national crisis of high prescription drug prices, showing that at the beginning of the recession 40% of Americans were struggling to afford their prescription drug prices (Harvard School of Public Health). Sadly, new data further highlights this national emergency and shows that the problem is getting worse. Focusing on Americans with insurance, a report by Wolter Kluwer Pharma Solutions found that 14.4% of new prescriptions were not filled in 2009, an increase of 5.5% over 2008. The study attributed the increase to rising co-payments. In fact, 24% more prescriptions were simply abandoned in 2009 than 2008. Prescription abandonment is when a patient does not pick up his or her prescription at the pharmacy. The problem is more acute with brand name drugs than generics.
To stop the increasing tide of Americans skipping their medications due to cost, it is more urgent than ever that increase access to safe and affordable medication. In the short term, healthcare reform will provide limited drug price relief but will not significantly help struggling Americans any time soon. However, low-cost online pharmacies and personal drug importation can play an important role in making sure Americans are taking the medicines they need right now. Canadian and other international online pharmacies, for example, offer drug savings of about 70% on brand name drugs. Legalizing personal drug importation and educating consumers about how to safely order prescription drugs from such pharmacies is the right prescription.Tagged with: Drug Price S.O.S., Harvard School of Public Health, health reform, Healthcare Reform, prescription abandonment, wolter kluwer