A recent Gallup study showed that 18 million people in the U.S. are unable to pay for their medications. However, new options for buying affordable prescriptions are on the rise.
While 7% of the overall U.S. population struggles to pay for their medications, nearly 20% of the population for low-income individuals struggle to afford them, according to the study.
“I’m just spending money on rent and medication, it feels like medication is the second thing I pay for after rent. So it’s hard as a college student to let alone buy anything or save any money at all,” BYU senior Paige Sherwood said.
One new option for patients that struggle to obtain their medications is the Amazon Prime RxPass. With this program, Amazon Prime members can receive all of their prescriptions for an additional 5 dollars monthly. The company said the program is an ideal fit for those who struggle with insurance or are paying for multiple prescriptions each month.
Another alternative to traditional pharmacies is the Walmart $4 prescription program. Customers can buy a 30-day supply for $4 and a 90-day supply for $10 for all qualifying medications.
While alternatives are available, not all medications are featured. Some medications, such as insulin or Adderall, are not for sale on some alternative pharmacy sites. It can also be difficult to obtain prescriptions for less common conditions.
For Utah County resident Maggie Donaldson, affording all of her many prescriptions is a challenge. Donaldson lives with a chronic illness that can keep her from working for weeks on end.
“Because I know that financially I can’t afford (some of my prescriptions), I don’t know what I’m gonna do when the next time I need a refill of one of my more expensive medicines my insurance doesn’t cover, and I haven’t been able to find a cheaper place to get them, or an over the counter substitution for it. It’s definitely scary,” Donaldson said.
Donaldson takes over a dozen medications daily, one of which costs over $300 a month.
“I’m going through a divorce right now and because of also the chronic illness that I have I’m in-between jobs, so it does definitely put a financial, emotional and mental strain on me to be able to afford all my meds,” she said. “Some of these I would not be able to live without them.”
While alternate pharmacies do not work for everyone due to their limited supplies, Amazon’s pharmacy alone is helping an estimated 150 million people, according to their self-reported data. The company also reports that it has medications for 80 common conditions.
Information on which prescriptions are offered through Amazon Prime can be found on their website.