Uninsured Pay More for Medication Than Federal Government
Three California cities ranked among the top six in a California Public Interest Research Group survey on the cost of prescription drugs for uninsured patients compared with what the federal government pays for the same drugs, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/12).
For the report, U.S Public Interest Research Group affiliates from 35 cities this spring surveyed more than 600 pharmacies about the price uninsured residents younger than age 65 pay for the 10 most commonly prescribed medications (U.S. PIRG release, 7/11).
According to the report, uninsured residents in the 35 cities paid an average price of $81.31 monthly for the medications, compared with an average price of $50.71 for the federal government. The report finds that uninsured residents in Boston paid the highest average price -- about $87.86 monthly -- and that those in Des Moines, Iowa, paid the lowest average price -- about $74.25 monthly (Adams, Baltimore Sun, 7/12).
Uninsured residents in Sacramento faced the second-highest prices for medications, paying nearly 69% more for the 10 drugs than some federal programs pay (Geron, Sacramento Bee, 7/12). San Francisco ranked third with uninsured residents paying an average of $85.32 for drugs monthly, and San Diego ranked 19th.
Delays in market entry of generic versions of medications and direct-to-consumer advertising campaigns by pharmaceutical companies contribute to the higher drug prices paid by uninsured residents, according to the report (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/12).
U.S. PIRG recommends:
- The legalization of prescription drug reimportation from Canada;
- Earlier market entry of generic versions of medications; and
- The establishment of prescription drug purchasing pools among states to help reduce prescription drug prices for uninsured residents (Baltimore Sun, 7/12).