RX drug prices cause Pennsylvanians to struggle to afford health care

A majority of Pennsylvanians are anxious about affording health care on a day to day basis, and rising prescription drug prices are making it worse.

A survey conducted by Altarum's Healthcare Value Hub show one in two Pennsylvanians struggled to afford health care in 2018, and 36% of respondents cited prescription drugs as a main reason. Two in three Pennsylvanians are also worried about the cost of prescription drugs, and 76% of Pennsylvanians blamed the drug companies for rising costs. The survey showed 19% of PA respondents did not fill a prescription, and 17% cut pill pills in half and even skipped doses, in order to save money.

This is part of a broader trend in the state showing how many Pennsylvanians skipped medical treatment, doctor's visits, and testings to save money on rising health care costs. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports when one in three Pennsylvanians got treatment or care, they still struggled to pay the medical bills and in some cases even skipped paying for basic necessities to get by.

A report issued by AARP shows the average older Pennsylvanian takes four to five prescription drugs regularly, with the average retail cost of those drugs costing 20% more than the average senior makes in a year. This makes everyday life decisions difficult, with many seniors saying they chose to avoid refilling prescriptions, or triaging what pills they had left, in order to afford them consistently.

Across the country, prescription drug prices have gone up by 30% since 2010, with the most common brand-name drugs outpacing inflation over a four-year period. Meanwhile, the average household income in Pennsylvania back in 2018 is $1,000 less than the national average. However, most counties in South-Central PA had higher median household incomes than the national average, one big exception was Dauphin County.

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