Sunday, July 18, 2004

Prescription-drug bills stinging state residents, study determines

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Prescription-drug bills are hitting Kentuckians' wallets harder than in most states, a new study says.

The study placed Kentucky third among states in "drug cost burden" - the percentage of income that people spend on prescription medicine.

The study by the Health Reform Program at the Boston University School of Public Health was released last week. It found that Kentuckians spent an average of $750 each - about 2.8 percent of their income in 2002 - on prescription drugs, compared with the national average of 1.8 percent.

The state ranked third, after Tennessee and West Virginia, in spending on medicine, said Alan Sager, one of the researchers who wrote the report.

Kentucky has high rates of asthma, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer, and leads the nation in adult smoking. Kentucky also ranks third in the country in the use of prescription drugs.

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