Many Drug Prescriptions are Now Going Unfilled

Discussion in 'Economics' started by misterno, Feb 10, 2011.


    More Americans are failing to fill prescriptions because of the economic downturn, according to market research.

    Prescription-drug sales are usually immune to the economy's ups and downs, but the data, released Tuesday by health-information company Wolters Kluwer Health, indicate that the current recession is having an unusually negative impact.

    .Due to cost, U.S. patients failed to fill 6.8% of the brand-name prescriptions their doctors requested in the 2008 fourth quarter, a 22% increase from the first quarter of 2007. Patients also abandoned prescriptions for generic drugs at a higher rate, failing to fill 4.1% of generic prescriptions.

    Higher co-payments required under health-insurance plans and other plan features helped boost the number of patients unwilling to pay for their prescriptions, according to the research. The data also suggest that a patient's financial footing is now a part of that calculus. That isn't good news for drug makers already struggling to replace the sales of top-selling medicines losing patent protection over the next several years.

    "If you talk to heads of pharmaceutical companies, I don't think they'd say they're immune from recessions right now," said Mark Spiers, who heads Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions, the company's health-care data and analytics unit.

    In another ominous sign for drug makers, the data indicate that insurers are flexing their muscle and rejecting coverage for more prescriptions. Health plans denied 10.8% of brand-name prescriptions in the 2008 fourth quarter, a 21% increase from the first quarter in 2007.

    Insurers may deny a prescription for a specific drug because a less-expensive alternative is available. Supporters of a health-care overhaul want to encourage use of cheaper generic medicines. The data indicate that government and private insurers are already headed that way.

    The research found generic-drug prescriptions were increasing at a compounded annual rate of 12% between 2004 and 2008, while brand-drug prescriptions were falling at a 6.1% annualized rate. Prescriptions for generic drugs increased to 2.4 billion in 2008, up 200 million from 2007, while orders for brand-name medicines fell by 200 million for the year to 1.4 billion.
  2. Thank you, that was quite interesting.
  3. chartman


    It is a sorry state of affairs for our economy when sick people has to chose between medicine and food.
  4. I highly doubt that statement. I'd believe medicine and cell phone or medicine and internet but not medicine and food.

    Ramen is a quarter and tuna is a buck. Bread and water is still a cheap meal. Food banks are everywhere and food stamps are easy to get. People still know people, they can share food.
  5. you forgetting that significant part of population put all financial resources into property. And now as prices down there is substantially less money available, especially if used gearing.

    I think health shares & retirement businesses will suffer as these people simply have substantially less money which was expected to be spent on healthcare & retiremnt village & funeral.
  6. Oh yeah sure right

    That is why the number of homeless people are exploding

    You are so out of touch with reality or do not live in the USA
  7. Eight


    People might be doing a little research via google and finding herbs and supplements that are cheaper and better than the prescription stuff.. I knew a guy that got a prescription for some meds to lower his bp, he looked at what the european doctors prescribed for that, researched what plants it was derived from and bought some herbs. He capsuled them up in his kitchen and took them for awhile and his bp came way down... cost was next to nothing and no bullshit doctor notes were required...
  8. CET


    While it is no surprise that some people cut back during the down turn, this data is from the 4th quarter of 2008. It is basically useless here in 2011. Ole Chicken Little keeps posting useless BS.
  9. jem


    I will bet a lot of those perscriptions were going to drub abuse.

    also I will bet hard times cause people to be less "depressed". Now they have a real problem to focus on.

    Doctor, my anxiety has gone away because I really did lose my job and my house. Now I have to focus on my physical health and getting a job.
  10. Any idea what herbs he was using?
    #10     Feb 13, 2011