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Americans Skimping On Their Health

October 6, 2010, 6:12 PM by Kelli Grant

Americans Skimping On Their Health
SIOUX FALLS, SD - To pinch pennies, Americans are cutting back in a lot of ways. And for some it's becoming dangerous to their health. That's because their medicine cabinets are emptying out.

According to a telephone survey, many people are skipping the doctor's office all together and just as dangerous, they're skimping on their medications. 

More than 1,000 adults who take prescription drugs were asked how the economy has affected their health.

39 percent said they had cut back on some kind of medical care in the past year. And 27 percent of those polled said they had not complied with their prescription drug regimens because they wanted to save money.

“The patient needs to be better educated because if you're on a prescription medication, there needs to be a reason you're taking it. And you as a patient need to understand the value of the med,” Lewis Drug Director of Pharmacy Bill Ladwig said.

Ladwig says if you're not taking the medications you’re prescribed, you'll likely literally pay for it in the long run.

“By skipping these doses, how much harm are you causing in the process,” Ladwig said. 

Twelve percent of those surveyed said they had taken an expired drug. Ladwig says that too can pose a very serious problem to your health. And eight percent said they have cut a prescribed pill in half.

“You cannot cut some medications in half because if they're time released and you break them, you release all the medication at one time. That may cause you a lot of problems,” Ladwig said.

Ladwig calls the lack of compliance when it comes to taking medications America's other drug problem.

“For one year when you start taking medications, probable 30 to 40 percent of the people are persistent, they take their meds. So 60 percent drop off every year and they don't buy into their health,” Ladwig said.

That's why Ladwig says it's important everyone invest in their health, which could save money in the long run. 

Twenty percent of those polled thought generic drugs weren't as effective as brand name drugs, which in fact, they are.

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