Adults are using several strategies to reduce prescription drug costs, according to data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Some selected strategies to reduce prescription drug costs included not taking the medication as prescribed, asking the doctor for a lower-cost medication, buying prescription drugs from another country, and using alternative therapies.

Adults aged 18–64  were more than twice as likely as adults aged 65 and over to not have taken medication as prescribed to save money. Among adults aged 18–64, uninsured adults were more likely than those with Medicaid or those with private coverage to not have taken medication as prescribed to save money. Adults who were poor or near poor were twice as likely as adults who were not poor to not take medication as prescribed in order to save money.

This study provides a baseline to track strategies used by adults to reduce their prescription drug costs on a national level for all adults and for subgroups defined by insurance status and poverty level. This report also contributes to the body of literature on the potential burden of prescription drug costs among vulnerable populations including the uninsured and those who are poor.

For more information visit www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db119.htm#ref3.