Local News

New Study Shows Elderly Struggling with Medication Costs

Posted June 6, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— As America ages, older people will rely more and more on prescription medications. But a new study shows they may be less able to pay for the medication.

In Wilson, Pharmacist Michael Warren is not surprised at the results of the survey. Even in his discount pharmacy, he says he sees older customers who try to cut corners to get by.

The survey, conducted by East Carolina University, found that one in three seniors admitted to having difficulty paying for their prescriptions. The respondents had different ways of dealing with the problem, but many said they simply cut back on their dosages. Some some said they might skip a few doses each month, others take the drugs only when they feel like they need them.

Either way, doctors say the patient is putting his or her self in danger. Prescription drugs don't do a bit of good if they aren't taken properly.

Pharmacists say there has been a trend over the past few years toward more consumer oriented drug stores where the pharmacist spends more time talking to customers and asking them questions pertaining to their medication. They say they want people to know that they are encouraged to ask questions and find out more about their prescriptions.

One thing the survey did not include was information on possible solutions to the problem of affordable medication. That, they say, is something everyone needs to work on.

Reporter/Photographer:Brian Bowman