Study: thousands of patients never bother to pick up their prescriptions

Saturday, November 27, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: patients, prescriptions, health news

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(NaturalNews) Some experts are bemoaning the fact that not all drug patients are taking their medications. According to a new report out of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, thousands of Americans never pick up their drug prescriptions after ordering them because they either cost too much, or because they decide they do not really need or want them.

Previous research has found that many patients simply stop taking their drugs because of extreme negative side effects and lack of health improvement. So researchers decided to investigate prescription pick-up rates to see how many people never even make it to the drug store at all following a prescription order.

According to the report, three percent of prescriptions are ordered but never picked up. The majority of these are first-time prescriptions, which are three times more likely than other prescriptions to be abandoned. And those medications that are one of many in a patient's prescription regimen are also more likely to be left behind than those that are isolated or that represent one of only a few others.

Not surprisingly, prescription opiate drugs are the least likely to be left behind, since they are highly addictive and many prescription drug addicts go to great lengths to get them (

Another likely factor causing prescription abandonment is electronic prescriptions, which are sent automatically to pharmacies directly from patients' doctors. Many patients likely just forget to follow up because they do not have the traditional paper prescription in hand. This also suggests that perhaps the drugs are not all that necessary or useful in the first place if patients are able to get by without them.

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