Recent Studies on Drug Prescriptions and Doctor Visits

Recently,  the New York Times ran an article titled “Americans Cutting Back on Drugs and Doctor Visits”, reporting findings from recent studies by IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

A notable piece of the report is that in 2011, 34 new medicines were introduced in the US, including those that “improve care for people with hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis and several types of cancer.” Taken together, these drugs could help 2.5 million newly diagnosed people and 20 million people already carrying the diseases.

The report presents nationwide utilization rate findings from 2011:

  • ·         In 2011 prescription rates went down by 1.1%
  • ·         Overall visits to doctors went down by 4.7%
  • ·         Emergency room visits went up by 7.4%

According to the article, those numbers are most likely tied to the loss of health insurance by many Americans.

The report also shows:

  • ·         The use of medicine by older people, age 65 and up, decreased by 3.1 %
  • ·         Young Americans, age 19-25, experienced an opposite effect:

Even as fewer Americans were using prescription drugs, the opposite was true for young adults aged 19 to 25. Prescriptions for those patients rose by 2 percent compared with 2010, a change that Mr. Kleinrock said was because the health care law allowed adult children under 26 to be covered by their parents’ health care plan.