Socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of U.S. adults who purchase prescription drugs from other countries

Few Americans are sourcing their prescription medications from other countries, according to a study out of the University of Florida, Gainesville. The retrospective investigation captured a sample of patient data from the National Health Interview Survey covering 2015–17.

Few Americans are sourcing their prescription medications from other countries, according to a study out of the University of Florida, Gainesville. The retrospective investigation captured a sample of patient data from the National Health Interview Survey covering 2015–17. Among 61,238 adult users of prescription drugs during that period, just 1.5% turned to non-U.S. suppliers for their medicines during the previous 12 months. Those who did were more likely to be aged 64 years or older, to belong to Hispanic or immigrant populations, to be more educated, to have lower household income, and to lack insurance. The findings suggest that medication purchases outside of the United States are also driven by online use behaviors—tapping the internet for health information, for example—and online prescription fills. Additionally, patients who skip medications or put off filling a prescription—usually to save money—are more likely to look outside of the United States for their medication needs.