Americans Use Generics To Save $

Published Online: Wednesday, February 1, 2006

More than 9 out of 10 Americans have turned to generic drugs at one time or another to cope with the rising cost of prescription medicines, researchers for the American Society of Health- System Pharmacists (ASHP) said. According to the study, 90.5% of US families have purchased generic versions of branded drugs in an effort to hold down medication costs.

Even with insurance coverage, those prescription costs can become painful for many households, ASHP noted. Among the families surveyed, the average out-of-pocket cost for prescription drugs is now more than $100 a month, and 12.8% of the households spend $200 or more each month on prescriptions.

Whereas many of these families buy lower-priced generics to hold down these costs, others engage in risky activities to cope with drug prices. According to ASHP, 13.7% of the respondents decided not to get a prescription filled, 11.5% skipped medication doses or took less than the prescribed dose of medicine, and 7.3% stopped taking prescription medications altogether because of high drug costs.

"One out of 10 respondents said that they or a family member has been sick or had an illness worsen because they were unable to afford to fill their prescriptions,"ASHP reported. Warning that these kinds of risky responses to high medication costs could jeopardize the health of many Americans, the society urged patients to turn to their pharmacists for help in finding "more costeffective alternatives for their prescriptions."

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