May 16, 2019 – Rationing Meds


Anchor lead: What do people do when they can’t afford their medicines? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Affordable medication isn’t just a problem for older people, a recent CDC study reported. In fact, among the 60% of Americans in the 18-64 age range who have been prescribed medicines, strategies such as taking the medicine less often, choosing alternative therapies or asking for generics abound. Scott Berkowitz, an accountable care expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Berkowitz: It certainly sounds like for the uninsured it’s particularly marked. They have to make decisions and adopt strategies at times to cope with the inability to afford those medicines, and that may sometimes mean not taking them as much or not exactly following the instructions, skipping doses. But even some patients with coverage, whether its commercial coverage or Medicare and Medicaid, as well at times need to make decisions or not take their medicines, because they feel that they’re challenged because of their ability to afford those prescriptions. :29

Berkowitz applauds efforts on Capitol Hill to understand this problem better and craft solutions to enable people to afford their prescriptions. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.