Seniors Ration Spending on Drugs as Costs Rise in Weak Economy

U.S. senior citizens are filling fewer prescriptions for drugs as out-of-pocket costs rise in a weak economy, undercutting a record level of new product introductions by drug companies, industry researchers said.

Dispensed prescriptions to patients 65 and older declined 3.1 percent in 2011, compared with a 2.7 percent dip in 2010, according to a study released today by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics in Parsippany, New Jersey. For all age groups, prescriptions fell 1.1 percent last year.

The economy and increased cost-sharing requirements are causing people to make fewer doctor visits and fill fewer orders for pills, IMS said. There probably won’t be improvement in 2012 as the economic recovery and population growth aren’t moving fast enough to boost spending on brand-name drugs, said Michael Kleinrock, the institute’s research development director.

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Source: Bloomberg