18 million Americans can’t afford the drugs they need, Gallup says

About 18 million Americans, or 7% of American adults, say they recently haven’t been able to afford at least one prescription drug for their household, according to a new Gallup poll. The finding shows in “crude terms” how high health care costs and prescription drug prices are impacting households across the country, the polling company said.

The situation is even worse for low-income households with annual incomes of less than $ 24,000, with nearly 20% unable to afford at least one prescription drug in the previous three months, Gallup found in its survey. nearly 5,000 adults in June. About 1 in 10 adults report skipping a pill in the past year to save money.

Millions of Americans struggle with healthcare costs – even if they’re insured – as prescription drug prices continue to rise. U.S. consumers pay significantly more than citizens of other countries for the same drugs, with a 2019 government study finding that residents of other countries pay about 24 to 30 percent less than Americans pay for their drugs. This means that Americans’ spending on drugs, per capita, is the highest among the 12 countries in the study. Over $ 1,200 per person in the United States, that’s double the average spending of people in countries like Germany, the UK and Japan.

“The roughly 7% of Americans who couldn’t afford prescribed drugs in the past three months and the 10% who skip doses to save drugs because of cost further articulate this problem in plain language,” he said. Gallup said in its report.

He added: “These practical manifestations of how Americans manage their health care costs underscore the urgency of the problem.”

President Joe Biden has called on lawmakers to lower prescription prices, for example by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers and suppliers of pharmaceuticals, which the elderly insurance plan does is currently not allowed to do. Overall, Americans from all political walks of life support such changes, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

“Deeply American problem”

The high cost of medical care in the United States has led to the “deeply American” problem of medical debt, says RIP Medical Debt executive director Allison Sesso, whose association helps pay Americans’ outstanding health bills low income. Her charity said on Tuesday it was working with healthcare company Nomi Health to write off $ 225 million in medical debt for about 176,000 low-income people in four states.

Medical debt has exploded in the United States, with overdue bills on the rise during the pandemic, and now stands as the largest source of debt collection, according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Such indebtedness can deeply damage household finances, causing everything from foreclosed wages to personal bankruptcies.

High drug prices have a disproportionate impact on the sickest and poorest Americans, Gallup found. For example, about 1 in 10 Americans with three or more chronic conditions said they had to skip a drug purchase in the past three months, compared to about 1 in 25 people without any chronic illnesses, according to the survey. .

“This reveals an unfortunate scenario in which those who need prescription drugs the most are also the most likely to ration their use if they can afford them,” the survey group said.

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