Americans Struggling With High Cost of Prescription Drugs

< 1 min
September 20, 2021

September 20, 2021

An estimated 15.5 million U.S. adults younger than 65 years went without medication due to high drug costs, according to the results of a survey released by West Health/Gallup.

A national sample of adults participated in monthly online surveys: Jan. 25 to 31, 2021 (4,098 respondents); March 15 to 21, 2021 (3,905 respondents); April 19 to 25, 2021 (3,731 respondents); and June 14 to 20, 2021 (4,843 respondents).

The survey revealed that 15.5 million younger adults (<65 years) and 2.3 million seniors were unable to pay for at least one doctor-prescribed medication in their household. Twice as many younger adults reported not filling needed prescriptions in the previous three months versus seniors (8 versus 4 percent). The findings by age were similar for skipping pills to cut costs (13 versus 6 percent). Even adults with chronic conditions report difficulty affording prescriptions (diabetes: 12 percent; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: 12 percent; immune-compromised: 15 percent), at a rate that is nearly twice that of Americans overall.

“Prescription drugs don’t work if you cannot afford them,” Dan Witters, Gallup senior researcher, said in a statement. “All ages, race and ethnic groups, political parties, and income levels are reporting that they are struggling to afford medications.”