Photo: Old Shoe Woman via flickr
One in six American households feels strained by medical expenses, reports Bloomberg. To deal with it, 28% of consumers are resorting to guerrilla tactics to stretch their dollars.According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, such tactics range from not filling prescriptions to taking expired medicines and skipping scheduled doses–not to mention splitting pills in half and sharing prescriptions with others, all without the consent of a doctor or pharmacist.
Of the 2,038 consumers surveyed, 48% said they pinched medical expenses in some way, usually by putting off a visit. This was a 9% increase compared to last year, marking this the largest jump to date.
Whatever is fueling consumers stress isn’t being discussed with their doctors, which Consumer Reports warns could pose even greater health risks down the line.
“If a patient can’t afford their medication, that’s something his or her doctor needs to know,” said John Santa, M.D., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings centre. “But to find out, doctors have to ask.”
However, doctors aren’t discussing the costs with their patients either: Only 5% of the survey’s respondents said their doctor informed them of the cost of a drug.
Here are some other intriguing highlights from the survey:
- Half the respondents said they took at least one form of prescription medicine.
- Most said they asked for a prescription because it was advertised, which could worsen an already stressful situation since some drug ads promote expensive brands that don’t have generic versions, Consumer Reports notes.
- 72% said pharmaceutical companies have too much influence on the drugs doctors prescribe; 49% believe doctors are influenced by gifts from these companies,
- 75% of prescriptions filled are generic, up 2% from last year.
- 39% said they didn’t know generics must meet the same federal standards on safety as name-brand drugs.
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