Can't Afford Your Meds? How to Get Help

Millions of people take prescription medications. Some need them to live.  But a recent survey finds many may be passing on their pills because of concerns about the economy.

Dr. Michael Roizen did not take part in the survey but is the chief wellness officer at Cleveland Clinic.  He said even if you can’t afford to pay for your prescriptions, you do have options.

"If you’re really short of money and many of us are at this time, the drug companies have that hotline to call for a few days dosage and also to help if you can’t afford them anymore," Roizen said.  "And the drug companies have been very generous in this status. And  your physician can maybe help you get some samples to get over that hump. So you don’t miss it.”

Healthcare information company “Epocrates Inc.” surveyed 700 doctors.  Nearly 95-percent of them said they have some concern that their patients may not be filling prescriptions because of the economy.  Doctors also say others are skipping doses or splitting pills to save money. Dr. Roizen said this is the wrong way to go because you can’t do much without your health.

“But it’s really important, you’ve got to take the action, don’t be embarrassed about it this is your life and your health. You know, we get to recover. The great thing is we get a do over," Roizen said. "The economy goes down, you’re unemployed, you can re-train, get another job, as long as you got your health. But when you have a stroke or a heart attack, that’s the real major disabler that means maybe you can’t recover to the same level.”

The survey also found more than half of the doctors are writing more prescriptions for generic drugs, which are less expensive than the name-brand drugs.

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