Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Many Patients Don't Bring Up Drug Cost Issues

Doctors Often Don't Ask and Their Patients Don't Tell About Drug Cost Concerns

WebMD Health News

Sept. 13, 2004 -- Many chronically ill older adults never tell their doctor about prescription drug cost concerns or disclose their plans to cut back on prescription medications due to the cost associated with the drugs, according to a new study.

Researchers found that two-thirds of older adults with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma never told their health care provider in advance that they planned to cut back on their medications because of the cost, and more than a third never discussed the issue of prescription drug cost at all.

Previous studies have shown that people concerned with out-of-pocket drug costs often limit prescription drug use and don't take them as directed. Researchers say that because many older adults and people with chronic disease often take many medications, they are especially vulnerable to the pressures of rising drug costs.

Underuse of essential prescription drugs, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, heart medications, asthma medications, and antipsychotics, has been associated with many negative health effects, including:

  • Increased emergency room visits
  • Admission to a nursing home
  • Hospitalization for serious psychiatric problems
  • Decreased overall self-reported health status

Doctors Don't Ask, Patients Don't Tell

Despite these well-known hazards, researchers say few studies have looked at whether patients discuss prescription drug cost concerns with their health care providers.

In the study, published in the Sept. 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers surveyed 660 older adults with chronic illnesses who said they had underused medications in the previous year due to cost concerns.

Researchers found that the issue of prescription drug cost was often ignored by both patients and their doctors. Of those surveyed:

  • Two-thirds never told a doctor or nurse in advance that they planned to underuse their medications because of their cost.
  • 35% never discussed the issue of drug cost at all.
  • 66% reported that they had not been asked by their health care provider about their ability to pay for prescriptions.

When asked why they didn't bring up the issue of drug costs, nearly half said they were too embarrassed to have such a conversation or thought the issue wasn't important enough to raise with their doctor.

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing