PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The grim economy is prompting people to cut back on spending in many areas, but there is one area where that could have dire consequences.

Consumer Reports just-released a poll which shows more than a quarter of those taking medication have taken dangerous steps to cut their drug costs.

Pharmacist Linsay Davis hears from many people struggling to pay for prescription drugs.

“We have found a lot of customers do try to cut corners with their medications,” Davis said.

That’s in keeping with what Consumer Reports National Research Center found in its latest poll on prescription drugs.

“Twenty-eight percent of people who currently take medication said they took potentially dangerous actions to save on drug costs,” Dr. Orly Avitzur from Consumer Reports said.

  • 12 percent skipped a scheduled dose.
  • 13 percent took an expired medication.
  • 16 percent skipped filling a prescription.

“Not taking your medication as prescribed can lead to unnecessary hospitalizations and even death,” Dr. Avitzur said.

The survey also found eight percent split pills in half without consulting a physician.

“Some types of medication, such as blood-pressure pills and statins, may be okay to split. But chemotherapy or anti-seizure drugs are not. Be sure to always check with your doctor first,” Dr. Avitzur said.

Consumer Reports said pills not to split include powder or gel capsules, time-release capsules and pills with a hard coating.

Also, don’t split pills with a knife. Instead, use a pill splitter. They’re available at pharmacies for under $10.

Consumer Reports said another way to save on prescription drugs is by purchasing generics. Many chains and some independent pharmacies allow you to buy a 30-day supply for $4.

Some programs are free, including the ones at Target and Walmart. Others charge a small annual fee, including those offered at CVS, K-Mart, and Walgreens.


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