Older Americans Don't Seek Help From Health Professionals for Drug Costs

JULY 07, 2017
Kaitlynn Ely
The results of the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging show that many Americans older than 50 take two or more prescription medications that take a toll on their finances. Yet, most of these people do not seek help from their doctors or pharmacists to find more affordable options, which can cause them to stop taking vital medications.

The poll included 2,131 participants with half between 50 and 64 and the other half between 65 and 80. About 47% of those surveyed were considered to have “moderate complexity” of prescription management, meaning that they took 2 to 5 prescription drugs and visited at least one doctor. By contrast, 19% of those polled were prescribed more than 6 medications, putting them in the “high-complexity” category.

Seeking help from a health professional about finding cheaper medications often paid off, with 67% of those who talked to a doctor and 37% of those who talked to a pharmacist receiving recommendations. Those with a “high complexity” of prescription management were more likely to talk to their doctor about drug costs.

Preeti Malani, MD, director of the poll and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, said “we see a need for health professionals to find ways to more routinely engage with patients about cost, especially through formal medication reviews such as the one that Medicare will cover.”

For more information, visit http://www.healthyagingpoll.org/.

  1. University of Michigan. Older Americans don’t get – or seek – enough help from doctors and pharmacists on drug costs, poll finds. . Published June 30, 2017. Accessed July 7, 2017.