Wishing you affordable medicine and food this Thanksgiving!
When it comes to healthcare, and especially prescription drugs, 62% of Americans are concerned with costs. In the richest country in the world, it saddens me to report that accessing food — and eating more healthy foods — is a big problem, too.
This Thanksgiving it’s important to consider and stand with the millions of Americans who have to decide whether or not they will eat the food they want or take the medicine they need. Over 30% of Americans delay buying food or buy less food so that they can pay for medical and prescription drug expenses. That’s according to an annual survey about food purchasing behavior by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) conducted earlier this year.
This is not necessarily a hunger issue, although hunger in America is a problem. The IFIC study shows that 50% Americans sometimes buy less healthy food because it’s more affordable. Those less healthy diets lead to negative health outcomes, such as obesity, and more prescription drug spending!
A Commonwealth Fund survey showed 18% of Americans aged 19-64 did not fill a prescription in 2016. In my role with the non-profit organization Prescription Justice, we used that data and other survey data focused on people 65 and older to discover that 45 million Americans did not fill a prescription because of cost in 2016.
This is entirely unacceptable for America. What is worse is that even with a strong economy and unemployment at almost a 50-year low, affording medicine and healthy food is still difficult for so many families.
I hope that the work of PharmacyChecker to provide useful information on affording medicines and advocating for patients helps make it easier for Americans to afford both food and medicine – and to have a very, very Happy Thanksgiving.
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It’s a national disgrace that this Thanksgiving Americans will go without medication because prices are too high. First Coast News in Jacksonville, FL, and other ABC local stations, teamed up to report on the continuing crisis of high drug prices. Its opening is chilling: “In living rooms and kitchens across the First Coast, families are choosing between food and vital medicine.”
The report notes that prescription drug spending is much higher in the United States than in other rich countries. Why? “Well, other countries directly negotiate drug prices on behalf of their citizens.” And that explains why Americans are buying medications from outside the U.S., despite the federal restrictions. They are cheaper overseas.
Today I’m not feeling like just slamming Big Pharma and drug companies for their greed. On the heels of this bizarre national election, it’s our elected leaders who need to feel the heat. President Elect Donald Trump states: “Allowing consumers access to imported, safe and dependable drugs from overseas will bring more options to consumers.” It’s one of the few things that Americans, Right, Left and Center, would agree on.
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People should not have to go without one or the other
As we settle in to our Thanksgiving dinners tomorrow, let’s not forget the many millions of Americans who cut back on groceries each year to pay for medication or simply go without. How prevalent is this travesty? According to Consumer Reports, 21% of American adults with a prescription benefit and 39% without a prescription benefit are cutting back on groceries each year.
According to Hunger in America 2014, 14% of Americans receive charitable food assistance each year – about 46.5 million people. Of those people, 66% had to choose between “paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care in the past year, with 31 percent reporting facing this tradeoff every month.” That’s about 31 million Americans choosing between food and medical care/medicine each year.
The Consumer Reports survey shows that millions of middle class Americans are suffering under the burden of high drug prices. The Hunger in America 2014 survey shows how dramatically the poor are affected.
There is poverty in other advanced economies as well but with much lower rates of people struggling to afford food and medicine. We can do better in America. We hope that PharmacyChecker.com helps alleviate the burden of prescription drug costs and prevents sickness and lives lost when people find medication they can afford by using our information.
A healthy and happy Thanksgiving,
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