1 in 8 Skip Meds to Save Money

A bottle of prescription pills
(Image credit: Prescription photo via Shutterstock)

About one in eight working-age adults say they have skipped doses of their medications or delayed filling prescriptions because of the cost, according to a new government report.

The report, based on the results of a national 2011 survey, says that 12.6 percent of adults between ages 18 and 64 said they had not taken medication as prescribed in order to save money. Among adults ages 65 and older, 5.8 percent said the same.

Those who do not take their medications as prescribed are more likely to wind up in an emergency room, be hospitalized, and have a heart attack or stroke, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report was aimed at allowing researchers to track the strategies adults use to reduce their prescription drug costs. In 2011, Americans spent $45 billion on prescription drugs.

Among 18- to 64-year-olds, 10.6 percent delayed filling a prescription to save money, 8.5 percent took less medication than prescribed (for example, by cutting pills in half) and 8.2 percent skipped doses.

Those living at or near the poverty line, and those without insurance were more likely to not take medication as prescribed to reduce their drug costs.

About one in five adults said they have tried to save money by asking their doctor for a lower-cost medication. A small percentage of people said they bought medications from other countries or used alternative therapies.

Pass it on: Working-age adults are about twice as likely as older adults to save money by not taking their prescription drugs as prescribed.  

This story was provided by MyHealthNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow Karen Rowan @karenjrowan. Follow MyHealthNewsDaily @MyHealth_MHND, Facebook & Google+.

Karen Rowan
Health Editor
Karen came to LiveScience in 2010, after writing for Discover and Popular Mechanics magazines, and working as a correspondent for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. She holds an M.S. degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University, as well as an M.S. in cellular biology from Northeastern Illinois University. Prior to becoming a journalist, Karen taught science at Adlai E. Stevenson High School, in Lincolnshire, Ill. for eight years.