More U.S. Residents With Chronic Conditions Cannot Afford Prescription Drugs
A greater percentage of U.S. residents with chronic medical conditions were unable to afford all of the prescription drugs they needed in 2003 compared with 2001 data, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change, CQ HealthBeat reports. The study analyzed data from HSC's Community Tracking Study Household Survey, which in 2003 included 36,500 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. Among adult U.S. residents, 18.3% of those with chronic conditions had problems with access to prescription drugs in 2003, compared with 16.5% in 2001, according to the study. More than 14 million adult U.S. residents with chronic conditions -- more than half of whom had annual incomes less than 200% of the federal poverty level -- could not pay for all of their prescription drugs in 2003, the study found.
"Adults with chronic conditions were twice as likely as other adults to have problems affording prescription drugs," HSC President Paul Ginsburg said. In addition, the study found that the percentage of U.S. adults who had problems affording prescription drugs increased from 12% in 2001 to 12.8% in 2003, likely because of higher prescribing rates and increased cost-sharing (CQ HealthBeat, 5/18). The study is available online.