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2015 Survey on Prescription Drugs

En español | This AARP survey was fielded to better understand consumers’ prescription drug use and any struggles consumers face with regard to the cost of their prescription drugs. The survey also sought insight into the views of adults age 50+ regarding how prescription drugs and pharmaceutical companies are regulated, whether drug companies influence politicians and health care professionals, and what can be done to help reduce the costs associated with prescription drugs.

Key findings Include:

  • Three-quarters of 50+ adults take prescription medication on a regular basis; the percentage is even higher for seniors.

  • Most 50+ adults think prescription drugs are too expensive and most say it is important for politicians to support efforts to make prescription drugs more affordable.

  • Over four in ten 50+ adults are concerned about being able to afford their medications.

  • Over eight in ten 50+ adults think that drug companies make too much profit and that they should be required to publicly explain how they price their products.

  • A large majority of 50+ adults say it should be legal to buy prescription drugs in Canada and Europe.

  • Over nine in ten 50+ adults support allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.

  • Over eight in ten oppose the efforts of drug companies to delay the availability of lower-cost generic substitutes.

An online survey was conducted for AARP by GFK on December 1-11, 2015 among a nationally representative sample of 1,834 adults age 50+.  Additional interviews conducted to reach: 400 Hispanic/Latino adults age 50+ and 405 African-American adults age 50+. The data was weighted by age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, and primary language (Hispanics/Latinos only). The margin of error for the national sample of 1,834 adults age 50+ is +/- 2.8%. The margin of error among subgroups is higher. For more information and for media inquiries, contact Gregory Phillips at 202-434-2544 or


Suggested Citation:

Mehegan, Laura, and Laura Skufca. 2015 Survey on Prescription Drugs. Washington, DC: AARP Research, April 2016.

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