Adults Skipping Medicines to Save Money, Research Finds

Adults Skipping Medicines to Save Money, Research Finds

Adults who haven’t reached retirement age were twice as likely as those who have to skip their prescribed medications to save money, a U.S. study found.

About 20 percent of adults regardless of age have asked their doctors for a lower cost treatment, according to the study released today by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Spending on drugs is expected to increase an average of 6.6 percent a year from 2015 through 2021, the Kaiser Family Foundation has reported.

Americans spent $45 billion out-of-pocket on retail prescription drugs in 2011, the CDC said. The Affordable Care Act is expected to expand access in 2014 when medication coverage is considered an essential benefit of any health plan offered in new insurance marketplaces called exchanges.

“If you’re not insured or you face high co-payments, you’re going to stretch your prescriptions,” said Steve Morgan, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver. “Even among insured populations, there is this invincibility mindset among the very young. Older people are more likely to adhere to chronic therapies over a longer period of time than younger.”

Today’s study found 13 percent of those ages 18 to 64 reported not taking their medications as prescribed to reduce costs compared with 5.8 percent of those 65 and older. The 2011 data came from the National Health Interview Survey. Most U.S. adults are eligible at age 65 for Medicare, the federal government’s health program.Drug Spending

About 90 percent of seniors and 57 percent of non-elderly adults had a prescription drug expense in 2010, according to the Kaiser foundation, a nonprofit health research group based in Menlo Park, California.

Strategies that alter the way adults take their medications include skipping doses and consuming less than the prescribed amount. About 11 percent of those 18 to 64 also delayed filling a prescription compared with 4.4 percent of those 65 and older, according to the survey. Uninsured adults were more likely to have tried to stretch their medications than those with Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor, and those with private insurance.

Failing to take medication as prescribed may increase costs to the U.S. health system, particularly from exacerbated conditions that lead to increased hospitalizations, Morgan said in a telephone interview.

About 2 percent of adults regardless of age bought prescription drugs from another country to reduce costs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Edney in Washington at

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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