Idahoans Left with Tough Choices as Prescription Drug Costs Soar
As prescription drug costs continue to rise, Idahoans are feeling the pain.
The average annual cost of prescription drugs in Idaho increased more than 57% between 2012 and 2017, according to data collected by AARP Idaho.
Over that same period, annual incomes increased by a little more than 5%.
The data also found that in 2016, nearly a third of Idahoans stopped taking medication as prescribed due to cost.
Lupe Wissel, state director of AARP Idaho, says she’s seen evidence of that, with members asking for pill cutters.
“Why do they need pill cutters?” she raises. “Because they want to make their prescription lasts longer. They’re either cutting it in half or cutting it in quarters so it’ll last longer. And so they’re not even taking the prescription that they are supposed to take or the doses that they are supposed to take.”
The AARP data looked at price increases for name brand drugs that treat cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
In the case of the diabetes drug Lantus, for instance, the price increased from about $2,900 a year in 2012 to $4,700 in 2017.
Nearly 130,000 Idahoans have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Wissel says state and federal governments need to find a solution so that folks don’t have make hard choices.
“How can we help Idahoans be able to afford their prescription drugs without cutting into their groceries?” she poses.
Wissel notes that 29 states have passed laws this year to rein in prescription drug prices.
AARP has launched a nationwide campaign called Stop Rx Greed to fight back against high drug costs.