• Follow us


The Prescription Drugs That Rich People Buy

ImageAmong the striking disparities: There are more prescriptions for drugs to treat mental illness in wealthy neighborhoods, while in poorer ones, there are more for H.I.V. and hepatitis C.CreditGeorge Frey/Reuters

There are many, many things that rich people buy in larger quantities. It turns out medications for certain serious diseases may be one of them.

A new analysis has found that, for some types of medications, income is a pretty strong predictor of how often someone is picking up a drug to treat an ailment.

The analysis, by GoodRx, a company that tracks prescription drug prices, looked at how often residents of different neighborhoods filled prescriptions for different categories of drugs.

Patients in wealthier neighborhoods were much more likely to pick up prescriptions for lifestyle problems: erectile dysfunction, baldness, anti-wrinkle Botox injections and an eye medicine that thickens eyelashes. This may be unsurprising.

But the analysis also showed that richer patients were more likely to buy drugs for certain serious conditions, including mental health disorders. This was the case even though the analysis showed that income doesn’t track with overall prescription use.

These prescriptions for serious conditions were filled disproportionately in rich neighborhoods despite evidence that the rich tend to be in overall better health. In fact, people in rich neighborhoods filled fewer prescriptions than people in middle-class neighborhoods. The blend of data suggests that, while prescriptions and income don’t track well over all, there are points where they do.

The relationship between income and prescription drug purchasing is more complicated than whether someone has money to spend at the pharmacy. Depending on income and life circumstances, Americans may have different odds of developing certain illnesses and of seeking treatment — even before the direct cost of medicines becomes an issue.

“There are definitely a bunch of financial barriers before you even get to the point of getting to fill a drug,” said Stacie B. Dusetzina, an associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University. She said social and cultural factors could matter, too: Evidence has shown that doctors are less likely to prescribe pain medicines to black patients than white ones, for example.

Niteesh Choudhry, a professor of medicine and public health at Harvard, said that his research hadn’t shown a clear relationship between income and prescription drug use. Instead, he said, cultural and racial factors — and the details of insurance coverage — were better predictors. When it comes to treatments for very common conditions, “the income relationships are probably not linear,” he said.

Several experts in the demographics of drug use said all those factors might explain the higher usage of medications for mental health problems among wealthier people. Some mental health problems are more prevalent among Americans with lower incomes, evidence shows. But longtime holes in the health care system mean that richer patients are more likely to have private insurance or extra money to pay for psychiatric care that is not covered by insurance. And some people in lower-income communities may feel more stigma around mental health diagnoses.

A similar dynamic could explain lower prescription rates for birth control among lower-income women. Under Obamacare, all women with health insurance should be able to get contraception with no co-payment. So cost at the pharmacy counter can’t alone explain the differences. But higher-income women may be more likely to have a regular doctor to prescribe pills. (The data shows that emergency contraceptive purchases, also available without co-payment, were more common in lower-income neighborhoods.)

The high cost of EpiPens alone may explain some of the differences in usage. Current guidance is for patients to stock several of the devices, used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, and replace them often. But their high cost may lead some poorer patients to make do with fewer or older ones, while those with more disposable income might stock extras.

Some drugs seem to be taken about equally regardless of income. The use of antibiotics appears to be roughly the same for middle-class and rich Americans. These drugs are used for some serious diseases, have few over-the-counter substitutes, and tend to be inexpensive.

Some drugs are much more commonly used at the low end of the income scale. Consider treatments for hepatitis C and H.I.V. These are diseases that disproportionately affect low-income Americans, and that pattern is reflected in the prescription purchasing patterns.

The GoodRx data looked at a sample of 53 million retail pharmacy purchases in 39 large metropolitan areas over a year ending in October 2018, then divided them according to the income characteristics of the people who lived in the census tract where the pharmacy was located.

This is not exactly the same as tracking individual customers by income, but most people buy drugs at pharmacies near their homes. The data includes drug purchases by people with both public and private health insurance, and by some customers who buy their medications using cash. Analysts at GoodRx then grouped drugs prescribed for various diagnoses to build categories. They also made some adjustments to the data in cases where the sample overrepresented one kind of insurance.

Read More

Leave A Comment

More News

NYT > Health

Trilobites: Beaked Whales Are the Deepest Divers 2019-02-07 15:32:10Cuvier’s beaked whales off Cape Hatteras dive farther and stay underwater longer than any other marine mammal.

Dr. Doris Wethers, 91, on Front Lines Against 2019-02-07 14:20:39Breaking racial barriers in New York’s medical world, she earned renown for research and advocacy that led to mandatory testing for sickle cell

A High-Tech Pill to End Drug Injections 2019-02-07 14:00:04Engineers have developed a tiny robotic capsule that injects insulin once it lands in the stomach.

What Is Late-Term Abortion? Trump Got It Wrong 2019-02-07 13:22:55In his State of the Union address, he used scary imagery that scientists say is incorrect.

The Patient Had Bone Cancer. The Diagnosis Arrived 2019-02-07 12:24:46The fossil of an ancient animal teaches a sad lesson: Cancer has been around for a very, very long time.

Living Alone Can Be Deadly 2019-02-07 11:27:19Men who lived alone had a 23 percent increased risk for dying prematurely from any cause and a 36 percent increased risk for cardiovascular death.

The Prescription Drugs That Rich People Buy 2019-02-07 11:26:08Though they tend to be healthier and fill fewer prescriptions over all, they’re likelier to purchase certain serious medications, an analysis fi

Key West Bans Sunscreen Containing Chemicals Believed to 2019-02-07 11:23:28The law’s supporters see it as a crucial step toward protecting the city’s reefs, which draw visitors from around the globe.

U.K. Doctors Call for Caution in Children’s Use 2019-02-07 11:08:07Britain’s chief medical officers declined to recommend specific age or time limits, but saw associations between social media use and mental hea

Measles Outbreak in Philippines Spreads Beyond Capital 2019-02-07 07:59:04Health officials said a vaccine scare in 2017 had deterred parents from immunizing their children against the disease.

you asked: A Lady’s Many Scents 2019-02-07 07:00:04Pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, douching: Is your body’s natural odor a “fixable” problem?

Italian Alpine Spas, Where Sports Are an Afterthought 2019-02-07 03:01:21The South Tyrol has become a modern wellness destination, where tranquillity imposes itself and soothing waters call.

Scientific American: Health

We Need to Stop Drug-Resistant Malaria at Its 2019-01-31 12:00:00Immediate, targeted interventions in Southeast Asia could prevent a pandemic -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

The Topography of Disease 2019-01-29 12:00:00A 19th-century doctor famously mapped cholera’s toll to try and understand its origin and spread—but that's only part of the story -- Rea

We Need to Talk about Intestinal Worms 2019-01-29 07:00:00More than a half billion children were treated for these debilitating parasites in 2017—but even more are still suffering -- Read more on Scient

Vaccinating Mice May Finally Slow Lyme Disease 2019-01-29 06:45:00Killing ticks and inoculating people has failed, so researchers try immunizing mice via vaccine-laced food -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

When Physicians Need to Ask for Help 2019-01-28 12:00:00I learned during my last year of medical training—the most difficult year of my life—that “going it alone” did not make me str

The Trump Administration Is Jeopardizing Public Health 2019-01-28 10:00:00The EPA has been transformed from an environmental guardian into an agency that eschews science and uses cost-benefit analyses to reject regulations t

When Lyme Disease Strikes an Unborn Child 2019-01-25 07:00:00A mom can pass the pathogen to her fetus—but the World Health Organization has removed “congenital Lyme disease” from its definitive

Why Rocking to Sleep Is a Matchless Sedative—and 2019-01-24 11:00:00Back-and-forth motions may tweak the sensory organs that control our balance and spatial orientation -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Are We Innately Immune to Cancer? 2019-01-24 07:00:00At some level, yes, and new therapies could boost the body’s natural anti-cancer responses -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Unfair Diagnosis: Socioeconomic Gap Drives Cancer Outcomes 2019-01-23 12:00:00Too often, ethnicity and income level determine whether a patient survives cancer -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

4 Ways to Improve Your Posture and Lose 2019-01-23 10:30:00A nicely aligned body is a nicely stacked body -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Ebola Vaccine Supplies Are Expected to Last 2019-01-23 09:00:00The World Health Organization predicts the Democratic Republic of the Congo has enough of the experimental vaccine -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.

MedicineNet Daily News

Fertility Treatments Don't Raise Cancer Risk for Offspring 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Fertility Treatments Don't Raise Cancer Risk for OffspringCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12

Even Brief EMS Delay Can Cost Lives After 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Even Brief EMS Delay Can Cost Lives After Car CrashCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:00:00 A

Opioid OD Deaths Are Saving Lives Through Transplantation 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Opioid OD Deaths Are Saving Lives Through TransplantationCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:0

Benign Ovarian Cysts Should Be Left in Place, 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Benign Ovarian Cysts Should Be Left in Place, Study SuggestsCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 1

In West Virginia, Few Opioid OD Survivors Get 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: In West Virginia, Few Opioid OD Survivors Get Good Follow-Up Care: StudyCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review

AHA News: Actress Susan Lucci Thriving After Emergency 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: AHA News: Actress Susan Lucci Thriving After Emergency Heart ProcedureCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review:

Trump's Goal of No New HIV Cases by 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Trump's Goal of No New HIV Cases by 2030 Is Possible, Health Officials SayCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Rev

MS Drug Costs Skyrocket After Medicare Rule Change: 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: MS Drug Costs Skyrocket After Medicare Rule Change: StudyCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:0

Education No Match Against Alzheimer's 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Education No Match Against Alzheimer'sCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:00:00 AM

Hunting, Harvesting Leave Big Animals at Risk of 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Hunting, Harvesting Leave Big Animals at Risk of Extinction: StudyCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/

Cablivi Approved for Rare Clotting Disorder 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Cablivi Approved for Rare Clotting DisorderCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:00:00 AM

Patient Tested for Ebola at Philadelphia Hospital 2019-02-08 02:00:00Title: Patient Tested for Ebola at Philadelphia HospitalCategory: Health NewsCreated: 2/6/2019 12:00:00 AMLast Editorial Review: 2/7/2019 12:00:00 AM

FOX News

Dog owners claim 'toxic' vitamin D levels in 2019-02-07 15:52:13A seemingly endless number of dog owners from across the country have slammed Hill’s Pet Nutrition on social media for the deaths of their belov

LA City Hall may remove carpets amid downtown 2019-02-07 13:49:42Los Angeles officials are potentially exploring ripping out all the carpet at City Hall amid reports of the building being overrun by rats and fleas a

North Carolina UPS driver says following 'gut feeling' 2019-02-07 12:20:37A North Carolina UPS driver said he had a "gut feeling" something was wrong when he noticed a customer along his usual route hadn't picked up a pac

Texas mom says post warning against kissing babies 2019-02-07 12:03:48A Texas woman is crediting the heartbreaking post of a grieving mother with helping to save her own little girl after the other woman shared that thei

Army aims for more combat-ready troops with new 2019-02-07 10:32:58Army soldiers struggle to haul heavy sleds backward as fast as they can down a grassy field at Fort Bragg, filling the brisk North Carolina morning ai

Woman seeks 'Dr. Pimple Popper's' help removing 'horn' 2019-02-07 09:35:09A woman with a family history of head cysts grew emotional while explaining to a celebrity dermatologist that for the past year, one of the growths ha

Fisher-Price recalls 44,000 Barbie Dream Campers over ‘injury 2019-02-06 16:34:43Toy giant Fisher-Price has announced a voluntary recall of roughly 44,000 children's Power Wheels Barbie Dream Campers over a potential ‘injury

New Jersey Dunkin' Donuts worker tests positive for 2019-02-06 14:12:40Customers who visited a Dunkin’ Donuts location on the Jersey Shore last week are being urged to get the hepatitis A vaccination after an employ

Marijuana use may boost sperm count, study claims 2019-02-06 12:58:17Wannabe dads now have high hopes.

Colorado woman who claimed hospital removed healthy kidneys 2019-02-06 12:18:51The 73-year-old woman who had both her healthy kidneys removed in what she had claimed was an erroneous procedure has died nine months after the 

Woman left suffering from swollen lips, full-body rash 2019-02-06 11:58:09A woman in Ireland who was diagnosed with chronic idiopathic urticarial (CIU), or chronic idiopathic hives, said she is terrified that her debili

Mom who lost ear to skin cancer claims 2019-02-06 10:36:13A mother in the U.K. is calling for a ban on tanning beds after she claims her affinity for fake color as a young teen led to the eventual amputation

Health News - UPI.com

Combo of diabetes, leukemia drugs may fight breast 2019-02-06 09:36:15 A combination of popular diabetes and immunotherapy drugs can kill breast cancer, a new study says.

Long-acting contraception demand grew drastically after Trump election 2019-02-05 17:00:49 Soon after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, the number of women receiving IUD insertions to prevent pregnancies skyrocketed, a new study says.

Blood protein contributes to memory loss in Alzheimer's 2019-02-05 16:30:46 A protein found in blood could be the key to identifying the cause of Alzheimer's disease, a new study says.

Chronic pain drives most medical cannabis use, study 2019-02-05 12:57:06 The acceptance of marijuana use to alleviate pain from illness continues to spread from state to state, a new study says.

Prolonged sitting, watching TV may increase colorectal cancer 2019-02-05 12:13:20 Sitting and watching TV for an extended time can increase the colorectal cancer risk for younger adults, a new study says.

Insulin-producing cells grown in lab may be type 2019-02-05 09:27:15 A new, effective alternative to pancreas tranplantation may be on the horizon to treat type 1 diabetes, a study says.

Balloon-guided catheters offer better blood flow after stroke, 2019-02-04 16:01:09 People who've suffered strokes may have a new, more effective way to unclog their arteries, a new study says.

Study: Women's brains have more Alzheimer's-causing proteins than 2019-02-04 15:01:27 Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than men, and now a recent study may explain why.

Study: Income, education linked to sudden cardiac death 2019-02-04 12:26:22 Economic woes have led to a spike in the number of black people, particularly black women, having sudden heart failure, a new study says.

Scientists link protein to increased risk for heart 2019-02-04 11:37:44 Researchers have zeroed in on a key protein linked to diabetes, heart disease and stroke, a new study says.

Obesity-linked cancers on the rise in young adults 2019-02-04 09:58:16 Rates for six of 12 cancers associated with obesity are growing among younger adult Americans, a new study says.

Minority hospitals less likely to give end of 2019-02-01 16:36:15 Hospitals that primarily serve people of color are less likely to provide relief from the stress of a serious illness, regardless of the person's ra

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.