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CDC: Seniors Use Various Strategies to Reduce Rx Costs

Overall, 4.8 percent have not taken meds as prescribed; 17.7 percent have asked for lower-cost medication

WEDNESDAY, May 22, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- A proportion of older adults employ strategies to reduce prescription drug costs, according to a May data brief published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics.

Robin A. Cohen, Ph.D., and Peter Boersma, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, used data from the National Health Interview Survey to examine the use of strategies to reduce prescription drug costs among adults aged 65 years and older.

The researchers found that 4.8 percent of adults aged 65 years and older who were prescribed medication in the previous 12 months did not take the medication as prescribed in an effort to reduce their prescription drug costs; 17.7 percent asked for a lower-cost medication. Compared with men, women were more likely to not take their medication as prescribed (5.6 versus 3.7 percent). The likelihood of not taking their medication as prescribed and asking for a lower-cost medication was increased for adults aged 65 to 74 years versus those aged 75 years and older. Adults with Medicare only were more likely to not take their medication as prescribed; near poor adults were more likely to ask for lower-cost medication.

"Cost-saving strategies to reduce prescription drug costs may have implications for health status and have been associated with increased emergency room use and hospitalizations compared with adults who follow recommended pharmacotherapy," the authors write.

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