Dangerous drug cost cutting

September 27, 2011 8:31:53 PM PDT
The grim economy is prompting people to cut back on spending in many areas. But there's one area where that could have dire consequences: prescription drugs.

Consumer Reports' just-released poll shows 28 percent of those taking medication have taken dangerous steps to cut their drug costs.

  • Twelve percent skipped a scheduled dose.
  • Thirteen percent took an expired medication.
  • Sixteen percent skipped filling a prescription.

    Not taking your medication as prescribed can lead to unnecessary hospitalizations and even to death, according to Consumer Reports medical adviser Dr. Orly Avitzur.

    The survey also found 8 percent split pills in half without consulting a physician. Consumer Reports says that some types of medication, such as blood-pressure pills and statins, may be OK to split. But chemotherapy or anti-seizure drugs are not.

    Pills not to split include powder or gel capsules, time-release capsules, and pills with a hard coating. Be sure to always check with your doctor first.

    Also, don't split pills with a knife. Instead, use a pill splitter. They're available at pharmacies for less than $10.

    Consumer Reports says another way to save on prescription drugs is by purchasing generics. Many chains and some independent pharmacies allow you to buy a 30-day supply for $4. Some programs are free of charge, including the ones at Target and Walmart. Others charge a small annual fee, including those offered at CVS, Kmart, and Walgreens.

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