WASHINGTON -- People younger than 65
are twice as likely to skip medications than older Americans, according
to a study released today by the federal Centers for Disease Control and
The new CDC study found that about 13% of the
Americans younger than 65 did not take their medications as prescribed
to save money, while 6% of the older group skipped medications. About 6%
of both groups tried alternative therapies to avoid prescription drug
costs. Researchers used data from the 2011 National Health Interview
Survey, a survey that has gone out through the U.S. Census since 1956.
taking medications as prescribed can lead to poorer health or
emergency-room visits, according to the CDC report, a finding backed by
other recent studies. In fact, the New England Healthcare Institute
found that non-adherence to prescriptions costs Americans as much as
$290 billion a year.
And a University of Maryland study found last
June that Medicare patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
who take their medications as prescribed had lower hospitalization rates
and cost Medicare about $3,764 less than those who did not take their
But about one out of five members of both those 65
and older and those younger than 65 asked their doctors for generic
drugs, rather than name-brand drugs, and 2% buy drugs from another
country to save money, the study showed.
Seniors on Medicare were
more likely to ask for generic medications than those on private
insurance -- 25% versus 21%. However, seniors with private insurance
were less likely to have skipped their medications to save money than
those with Medicare and Medicaid coverage.
"Adults who were poor,
near poor, or uninsured were more likely to not take medication as
prescribed to reduce their prescription drug costs," the study states.