High Prescription Drug Costs Leave Many To Shop Abroad

Prescription drug prices have been soaring over the past decade, leaving millions of Americans unable to afford the medications that they need. If you have a great health insurance plan, then you have access to prescription drugs at a fair price; however, for many Americans, necessary medications are financially out of reach. Now, more than ever, as our country is being hit by a pandemic and a related financial crisis, Americans are looking for cheaper prescription drugs. All of this is forcing millions of Americans to shop abroad for their prescription drugs.  

The Continuous Rise in Prices

Prescription drug prices continue to rise every year. A study published in JAMA, from 2012-2017 shows that insurer and out-of-pocket costs of 36 top-selling brand-name prescription drugs increased by more than 50%, and the cost of 16 of them more than doubled. Insulins such as Novolog, Lantus, and Humalog, and tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (Humira and Enbrel) were some of these high price increases. The reason these drug prices have been on the increase over the past year is because they are biologics, meaning they are made of large, more complex compounds which makes it hard to make generic brands of them. Not to mention, these are highly used medications within the U.S.

Overall, the median cost of the drugs included in the study increased 76%. This year, medication costs are going up an average of 5.2%, which will make many drugs unaffordable for the majority of Americans, especially those who have lost their jobs. 

Hard Times

The coronavirus pandemic has left millions of people without jobs – and without health insurance. Those who are in need of prescriptions for chronic conditions or serious medical issues still need their medications, and so many are getting their prescription drugs from other countries, where they can be half the price of what they cost in the US. It is illegal for Americans to import prescription drugs into the US for personal use, but for many, it is a matter of life and death. 

“With the economic and health consequences of COVID-19 disproportionately impacting minority and low-income populations, more people in those groups may be seeking an alternative way to meet their medication needs,” said Young-Rock Hong, an assistant professor of health services research, management and policy at the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions.

Safety Concerns

illustration of persons hand with a coin and risk assessment next to it with the arrow pointing at orange
Buying medication from other countries can pose safety risks to those taking them.

Buying medication from other countries can pose safety risks to those taking them. Roughly 1 in 10 medications sold in the world are substandard or fake, according to the World Health Organization, and taking these drugs can lead to medical issues or even death. 

“Patients need to be knowledgeable of these potential dangers they will encounter, and insurance policies that search to pursue drug importation ought to reinforce high quality assurance and strict monitoring processes to advertise protected administration of imported remedy within the U.S. market,” Hong mentioned.

It is best to purchase medication from a trusted source to reduce the risk of any possible consequences of taking a fake drug, or a drug with a lower dose than labeled. If that is not possible, especially for the millions of Americans who have lost their job and health insurance, there are other solutions to get an affordable health insurance plan. EZ can help find a great affordable plan within budget so that medication does not have to be sought out from abroad. An EZ agent will compare plans and find the right plan for anyone’s needs. Our service comes at no cost, because we simply want to help people find a great insurance plan, and get the medications that they need. To find an affordable plan and medications, enter your zip code and a bar above or to speak to one of our agents call 888-350-1890.

About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *