Millions of Americans stretching out dosages to avoid cost of filling Rxs

12/17/2008

MEDIA, Pa. In the past three months, more than 13.5 million Americans who use long-term prescribed medication (including those taking injectable medications) have taken steps to stretch out their medications, either reducing the dosage or taking it less often than prescribed, according to a survey conducted by independent market research firm ICR/International Communications Research released Tuesday.

About one in ten patients who take even critical medications that must be injected by a health professional, like a physician or home health care service, have figured out ways to stretch out these often very expensive doctor recommended prescriptions, the survey found. Overall, for injectable medicines, the percentage of patients who indicate stretching prescriptions in the last three months ranges from 9 percent for medications injected by a health care professional, to 22 percent for self-injected drugs like insulin for diabetics.

Issues of overall cost and the recent financial climate, including factors relating to insurance coverage and medication co-pay, were the most cited reasons behind why people have begun stretching out their medication prescriptions.

The study was conducted with 1,020 adults from Nov. 13 to Nov. 16.

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