Thursday, March 6, 2008

Seniors Unable To Afford Prescription Drugs, Study Finds

Two-thirds of California seniors cannot afford their medications, and nine in 10 seniors want to be able to choose which medications are prescribed to them, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the Honolulu Advertiser reports.

The researchers found that:

Four of five participants want physicians to ask them if they can afford drugs before the medications are prescribed;

25% of participants skipped, stopped or never began taking treatments because of cost;

16% of participants said their physician asked if they could afford treatments; and

Among participants who stopped taking drugs, 17% said that their physician had checked to see if they could afford the treatments.

Tseng said that health plans should make it easier for physicians to see if patients' drugs are covered, including how close they are to the Medicare prescription drug benefit's so-called "doughnut hole" coverage gap. The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Wiles, Honolulu Advertiser, 12/7).

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