More Insured Americans Avoid Prescription Drugs Due To Cost
New outlets report on trends in how Americans use prescriptions and medications.
The Wall Street Journal: "Growing numbers of Americans with health insurance are walking away from their prescriptions at the pharmacy counter, the latest indication that efforts to contain costs may be curbing health-care consumption. A review of insurance-claims data shows that so-called abandonment - when a patient refuses to purchase or pick up a prescription that was filled and packaged by a pharmacist - was up 55% in the second quarter of this year, compared with four years earlier. The phenomenon coincides with rising co-payments for many drugs and increasing enrollment in high-deductible insurance plans that require patients to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket before insurance kicks in. Patients are deserting prescriptions for the most expensive drugs most often, according to the review by Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions, a health-care data company" (Rockoff, 10/12).
(Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) Star Tribune/The Seattle Times report on "heartburn drugs, known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), [which] are designed to reduce the body's ability to pump acid into the stomach. Today, they are among the nation's best-selling medications, with more than 119 million prescriptions written last year, in addition to over-the-counter sales. Experts have called them a godsend for ailments like acid reflux, a major cause of heartburn. Yet there's a growing consensus that millions of people are taking the pills needlessly, or far longer than necessary, wasting billions of dollars and in some cases triggering significant side effects" (Lerner, 10/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.