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Consumer Reports Poll: 48 Percent of Americans on Meds Making Risky Health Care Tradeoffs
Date:9/27/2011

YONKERS, N.Y., Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As a result of the flagging economy, Americans are making risky tradeoffs that could be dangerous to their health, according to Consumer Reports' annual prescription drug poll.  Forty-eight percent of Americans who currently take a prescription medicine told pollsters they'd cut health-care costs, for example, by putting off a doctor's visit or medical procedure, declining tests, or ordering cheaper drugs from outside of the U.S.  That's an increase of 9 percentage points since 2010.  The full results are available online at www.ConsumerReports.org/health.

The survey also found that to save money, 28 percent of Americans who take medication have resorted to potentially dangerous actions: for example, they skipped filling a prescription (16 percent), took an expired medication (13 percent), or skipped a scheduled dosage without asking a doctor or pharmacist (12 percent).  Larger numbers (35 percent) of low-income Americans took these risky steps.  

Doctors could be doing more to insulate their patients from undue expenses.  For example, not all doctors are routinely prescribing generics, which can be a tremendous money-saver; four out of ten respondents (41 percent) said their doctor only sometimes -- or never -- recommends a generic.   "Doctors need to be stewards of their patients' resource concerns.   When you walk into your doctor's office, you are a patient, first and foremost, but you are also a consumer, and your doctor should be tuned into this, especially during these tough times," says John Santa, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.    

Some survey highlights:  

  • Doctors are only slightly more likely to recommend a generic substitute for a brand-name medicine than not. Fifty-four percent of those
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SOURCE Consumer Reports
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