Nearly 14% of nonelderly Americans went without a prescription drug in 2007 because of cost concerns, up from 10.3% in 2003, according to a national study released by the Center for Studying Health System Change.
The study, More Nonelderly Americans Face Problems Affording Prescription Drugs, pointed to rising prescription drug costs and less-generous drug-coverage as the main reasons why children and working-age Americans are going without a prescribed medication. The center is a nonpartisan health policy research organization.
The number of Americans who cannot afford prescription medications is likely to grow as the economy continues to decline and the ranks of the uninsured grow, said Laurie Felland, a senior health researcher at the center and study co-author.
Uninsured, working-age Americans experienced the biggest jump in unmet prescription drug needs between 2003 and 2007, with the proportion rising from 26% to almost 35%. In addition, a growing proportion of working-age Americans with employer-sponsored insurance are going without prescription medications, the study found.
The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Findings were drawn from the Center for Studying Health System Changes 2007 Health Tracking Household Survey, a nationally representative survey containing information on 10,400 working-age adults and 2,600 children. The survey had a 43% response rate.