Many Americans age 50 and older depend on prescription drugs as an essential part of therapeutic medicine, yet many find it difficult to afford the medications they need. This report details West Virginia residents’ concerns about and experiences with prescription drug affordability, particularly their out-of-pocket costs and the subsequent decisions they often make regarding their health and overall well-being.
AARP’s West Virginia State Office commissioned this telephone survey of 800 residents age 50 and older. The survey found that:
- West Virginians age 50+ are concerned about the rising cost of prescription drugs, with Boomers age 50-61 being significantly more concerned than others in the 50+ population.
- One likely cause of Boomers’ concern about prescription drug costs is their disproportionate experience of out-of-pocket costs increasing over the past 5 years.
- The majority of respondents report having some type of health care coverage that pays all or part of the cost of their prescription drugs.
- More than half (52%) of respondents spend more than $50 per month on prescription drugs.
- One out of five respondents have:
- Delayed filling a prescription or decided not to fill it at all because of the cost,
- Taken a smaller dosage of medication in order to make it last longer,
- Or cut back on food, fuel, or utilities such as electricity in order to afford the cost of a prescription.
- Respondents are supportive of legislative proposals surrounding drug manufacturers that may allow them to realize savings.
This random-digit dial telephone survey was conducted in December 2007 and January 2008 among 800 residents of West Virginia age 50 and older. For more information about the survey, contact John C. Fries at 202-434-6313. (15 pages)