The Importance of Prescription Medication Access

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Prescription Cost

Prescription Use in America

Prescription medication improves and saves the lives of millions of people across the country every year. From mental illness to physical ailments such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, prescription medication is a critical factor for maintaining the health of many Americans. 

According to the CDC, six in ten Americans have a chronic disease as nearly one in five Americans live with mental illness. [1] Knowing all of this information, we would hope as a society that anyone who needs access to these life saving medications should be able to both easily and affordably. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

Prescription use in America

What is Prescription Access?

Prescription access refers to the affordability and accessibility of a patient’s ability to obtain medications their doctor recommends regardless of demographics. When medication access is limited this causes “financial and emotional consequences, on top of primary main health concerns. Reduced access to prescription medications may cause the patient to have to choose a drug less effective than the drug their doctor would prefer they have.” [2] Limited access to medications also leads to other detrimental factors such as a decrease in drug adherence

Ensuring patients have access to medication they need is critically important; our society and the medical field have an obligation to bring solutions and combat any roadblocks as they arise.

What are the Challenges?

The main issue making it difficult for Americans to access their medications is the cost of drugs. According to a recent survey, “nearly half of all Americans say that their prescriptions cost more than their groceries every month.” “The same survey showed that nearly one in four (23%) Americans say a medical condition has become worse because they [avoided] paying for medication they needed.” [3]

In the U.S. prescription costs are left in the hands of the prescription companies and the government has done very little to regulate drug prices. This leaves Americans in a very compromised position as they are forced to choose between their health and feeding their families. 

Although the government doesn’t directly regulate or negotiate the price of drugs with pharmaceutical companies there are several programs they have implemented that can help Americans save on drugs.

Types of Drug Assistance Programs: 

  • Drug Company Assistance Programs: “Pharmaceutical manufacturers may sponsor patient assistance programs (PAPs) that provide financial assistance or drug free product (through in-kind product donations) to low income individuals to augment any existing prescription drug coverage.” [4]
  • Pharmacy Drug Saving Programs: Programs that offer discounts at local pharmacies and allow consumers to comparison shop for their medication. 
  • Nonprofit Copay and Premium Assistance: Non profit organizations that help under insured individuals pay for medical expenses including prescription copays, health insurance premiums, deductibles and coinsurance as well as travel.
  • State Drug Assistance Programs: “Some states offer a state pharmaceutical assistance program (SPAP) to help their residents pay for prescription drugs. Each program works differently. Some states offer programs that can help people with certain illnesses pay for their prescription drugs.” [5]
  • 340B Drug Price Control Program: The federal government 340B Program is a drug price control program that allows qualifying providers including clinics, hospitals or pharmacies serving low-income or rural communities to offer prescription medications to patients at a discounted rate.

These cost-saving options are definitely a step in the right direction and are at least giving some reprieve to those who are struggling to afford their medications. However, there is still much more that needs to be done.

How we can Make Access to Prescriptions Easier

Making prescription medication more accessible and affordable is a very complex issue. Both public and private sectors are taking steps to come up with solutions to help those in need of assistance. The solution lies in making these life saving drugs more affordable and accessible to people.

MedifriendRx® is doing our part by making it more cost effective for clinics and pharmacies to implement pharmaceutical services. By cutting the cost of maintaining and running a pharmacy, more time and money can be spent on caring for the patients. The medifriendRx® pharmacy kiosk is placing pharmaceutical services where they’re needed the most, which is right at the point of care.

Learn More

To learn more about how the medifriendRx® pharmaceutical kiosk can help improve your healthcare business contact us directly at hello@medifriendrx.com.

References: 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm

[2] https://nyhealthworks.com/blog/the-importance-of-prescription-medication-access/

[3]https://www.physiciansweekly.com/strategies-for-promoting-prescription-drug-access-and-affordability

[4]https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/PrescriptionDrugCovGenIn/PAPData

[5] https://www.medicareinteractive.org/pdf/SPAP-Chart.pdf

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