DRUG COSTS: New Study Confirms that Seniors Pay More
ABC's Peter Jennings last night reported on "a new congressional study" confirming anecdotal evidence that "almost invariably, the elderly pay more for their drugs than insurance companies do." Jennings said, "The elderly in America make up about 12% of the population, and the elderly consume 33% of the prescription drugs. Elderly usually equals more illness. But does it make sense that the elderly have to pay more for these drugs?" ABC's Deborah Amos said, "Older Americans who pay for all or part of their prescriptions out-of-pocket are charged far more than insurance companies or HMOs. The study released today revealed that in Nevada, seniors pay at least double what insurance companies pay for the top-five-selling medicines must for older Americans." Why? The study says drug companies make up for bulk discounts they give to hospitals and insurance companies by raising prices on sales for seniors. In a statement yesterday, the pharmaceutical industry faulted the study for exaggerating the price differences. "But the bottom line remains the same: seniors pay more; a hardship that will only get worse, because prescription costs are rising again this year," Amos said. The danger, as Rep. Shelley Berkeley (D-NV) put it, is that those "least able to afford the prescription medication are the ones that are paying the most for the product" ("World News Tonight," ABC, 4/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.