Sept. 27, 2011 -- Robert Schwartz, MD, recently got an email from a patient he was treating for high blood pressure. In the email, the patient told Schwartz that at $130 month, the cost of his prescription blood pressure drug was too steep.
Schwartz, a professor and chairman of family medicine and community health at University of Miami School of Medicine, made some calls and found a more affordable solution for his patient.
This is how it should look, but as the economy lags, growing numbers of people may be cutting corners with prescription medications and not telling their doctors about it.
According to a new poll of 2,038 adults by Consumer Reports, many are putting off doctor's visits, necessary medical procedures, and tests.
In addition, many people do not fill their prescriptions, take expired pills, skip doses, or split pills -- all to lower costs.
"The economy is taking its toll on consumers' health, not just their pocketbooks," says Lisa Gill, the editor of prescription drugs for Consumer Reports.
"They are cost cutting and in dangerous ways, especially with prescription medications," she says.
Schwartz agrees. "I see this type of thing every day," he says. "You explain to patients that cutting back on drugs or cutting pills in half is not a good thing. It's a constant duel."