Penny-pinching and pills: 10 key statistics

About one-fifth of the cost for retail prescriptions comes from patients’ pockets. To offset the expense, some patients cut corners.

 In an effort to save money:

  • 7.8 percent of adult patients don’t take their medications as prescribed
  • 15.1 percent ask their physicians to prescribe a lower priced medication
  • 4.2 percent choose to use alternative therapies
  • 5.3 percent of adults younger than 65 years old skip doses
  • 5.6 percent of the 18-65 year group take less than prescribed
  • 7.2 percent of this age group has delayed filling a prescription
  • 14 percent of uninsured patients don’t take therapies as prescribed
  • 10.4 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries don’t take medication as prescribed
  • 6.1 percent of patients with private insurance don’t take medication as prescribed
  • 1.6 percent buy their prescribed drugs from another country

The statistics were published in a January 2015 data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics, based on data from 2012.