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More Consumers Buying Medicines by Mail

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: February 21, 2008

Of Americans who buy prescription drugs, the proportion who purchase them from mail order pharmacies rose from just under 9 percent in 2000 to just over 13 percent in 2005, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

During the same period, there was a change the proportion of Americans who bought their prescription medicines from the following sources:

  • Drug stores slipped from 65 percent to 61 percent.
  • Pharmacies in clinics, HMOs, or hospitals declined from 15 percent to 13 percent.
  • Pharmacies inside supermarkets and super stores like Target and Wal-Mart stores fell from 32 percent to 28 percent.

Who purchased drugs from mail order pharmacies? AHRQ found that in 2005:

  • About 37 percent were age 65 and older.
  • Nearly 88 percent were white.
  • Almost 87 percent had private health insurance.
  • Roughly 75 percent had at least one chronic illness.

AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Comparing Population Characteristics of Persons Purchasing Prescribed Drugs from Mail Order Pharmacies with Persons Purchasing Prescribed Drugs from Others Outlets, 2005.

For more information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at Bob.Isquith@ahrq.hhs.gov or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of February 2008


 

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

 

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