Over the past ten years, the use of prescription medications for the alleviation of medical afflictions in the United States has been on a steady rise. In fact, nearly 50% of Americans report having used at least one prescription medication in the last month. Unfortunately, the price of these prescription medicines has increased as well; as a result of both of these increases, prescription discounts are becoming more and more necessary to combat the increasing costs of medical expenses in the US.
What are prescription medications?
Prescription medications are classified as controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (the CSA). They are licensed medications which must be regulated, and as such can only be attained with medical permission or authorization in the form of a prescription. Only certain medical professionals, including dentists, advanced practical nurses, optometrists, medical practitioners, certain psychologists, and veterinarians are authorized to prescribe prescription medications to their patients. Prescription drugs fall into five different classifications, or schedules (based on their physiological and psychological effects, as well as their risk of abuse and addiction, and their medicinal usefulness), ranging from most extreme (schedule I) to least likely to form physiological or psychological dependence (schedule V). There are thousands of different types of substances which are sorted into these categories, and new compounds are continuously being manufactured and developed by research facilities and drug companies in order to combat medical afflictions. The nature of these substances, as well as the cost of research and manufacture, has caused the prices of prescription medications to remain high, creating the need for prescription discounts in order for the medications to be made accessible to everyone.
How much has prescription drug use increased?
According to statistics released by the CDC (the Centre for Disease Control), there was a 4% increase in the number of people who took at least one prescription medication a month between 1998 and 2008—that is an increase from 44% to 48% of individuals. Further, the number of individuals who took two or more prescription medications a month increased by 6% between 1998 and 2008 (from 25% to 31%), and the number taking more than five prescription drugs in a month increased by 5% (from 6% to 11%) by 2008—and the numbers continue to climb. In fact, by 2010, within only 2 years, the number of individuals using at least one prescription drug a month had increased to 48.5%. Approximately 75% of visits to a physician’s office, 74.4% of hospital outpatient department visits, and 79.3% of hospital emergency department visits result in drug therapy, placing the combined number of ordered or provided prescription medications at more than 3.1 billion in the US in 2010 alone. The increase in prescription usage between 2008 and 2010 forms a significant expenditure, considering that in 2008 alone the US spent $234.1 billion on prescription drugs, more than doubling what was spent in 1999. With more and more individuals spending increasing amounts on prescription medications, prescription discounts are in greater demand than ever.
How can prescription discounts help?
Prescription discounts provide financial assistance for anyone who is struggling to cover the medical expenses associated with any form of illness or medical affliction. Prescription medications can be pricey, and, for anyone who needs to regularly renew his or her prescription, can form costly repeat expenses. When these costs are added on top of other medical costs, such as doctor’s appointments or specialized treatments, the cost of medical aid can quickly become unmanageable.
Who do prescription discount cards help the most?
While prescription discounts can help anyone who is required to purchase a prescription, they can be the most helpful to those who do not have access to medical insurance or prescription drug benefits. In fact, statistics show there is a significant decrease in the number of people who take prescription medications between those who have access to medical insurance and those who do not (individuals with medical insurance are 22% more likely to use prescription medications than those who do not). This means that there are a number of individuals who could benefit from prescription medications for relief from medical affliction that are unable to purchase these medications due to their high costs. These are the individuals who prescription discounts can help most by making medical relief up to 80% more affordable.
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