Many Utah residents are putting their health at risk by not refilling their prescriptions due to the rising cost of prescription drugs, according to KSL TV, a news outlet based in Utah.

A survey by Gallup, an analytics and advisory company, has found that nearly 23% of people said they could not afford to fill a prescription drug at least once in the last 12 months.

Leigh Purvis, Director, Health Services Research at American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), said, “The reality is prescription drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them.”

“And, we are reaching kind of those tipping points where people are having to choose between the prescription drugs they need to stay healthy and other important things, like food and rent, and that’s not really a decision that anyone should have to make,” added Purvis, who studies prescription drug pricing.

The AARP has recently found that retail prices for around 260 widely-used prescription brand drugs went up 2.9% percent in 2020.

“This is what we like to call ‘relentless pricing behavior,’ where we just see these price increases year after year, with no sign of really slowing or going to match the price increases we see for other goods and services,” Purvis explained.

She went on to say that Americans pay three to four times more for their brand-name prescription drugs than patients in other nations.

“There’s nothing to stop it from happening,” she explained. “There really is nothing in the U.S. health care system to stop drug companies from setting really high prices and then increasing them anytime they want.”

Purvis said she recommends people to check with their doctors about generic substitutes or non-prescription options. She also wants people to check and see if mail order is cheaper and look for discount apps or coupons.

She said, “Something else that’s really important for Medicare beneficiaries is the extra health program, which can cover a lot of your out-of-pocket and premium costs.” Drug companies also have some assistance programs. You may get prescription drugs at a steep discount or even free if you qualify.