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Prescription Drug Access Disparities Among Working-Age Americans

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Publication Date: December 2003

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Marie C. Reed; J. Lee Hargraves

Series: Issue Brief No. 73

Topic: Health (Pharmaceutical services)

Type: Brief


Working-age African Americans and Latinos are much more likely than white Americans to report they cannot afford all of their prescription drugs, according to a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). In 2001, nearly one in five blacks and one in six Latinos 18 to 64 years old did not purchase all of their prescriptions because of cost, compared with slightly more than one in 10 whites. Cost-related prescription drug access problems are considerably higher for people with chronic conditions, particularly African Americans. Regardless of race or ethnicity, uninsured working-age people with chronic conditions are at particular risk for not being able to afford all of their prescriptions, with about half reporting cost-related prescription access problems. Increased patient cost sharing for prescription drugs will likely increase prescription drug access disparities for insured African Americans and Latinos, especially those with chronic conditions.