Health Advice



How to afford your medications or don't skip your meds

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

The list of female celebrities who skipped the 2020 Grammy Awards includes Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Taylor Swift -- and although their absence may have dimmed their stars a bit, they remain three of the top performers in the world. But if you're one of the 25% of women 18 to 64 who regularly skip their prescribed medication, you may be permanently dimming your chances for long-term survival.

According to a study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, in the U.S. women are 54% more likely to skip needed medications than men are. Why? Because so often health insurance is tied to employment. Women are less likely than men to have full-time jobs and they earn less, so they often cannot afford their meds.

Among the most frequently prescribed medications for (non-pregnant) American women age 15 to 44 are levothyroxine (for low thyroid conditions), albuterol (for asthma) and SSRIs (to treat depression and anxiety). Not one of those can you skip without risking devastating short- and long-term health consequences. So until health care coverage is sustained, equal and affordable for all, if you're having trouble paying for your medications, look at these resources. They may offer reduced pricing, rebates and other solutions:

-- NeedyMeds: or email them at They have info on assistance programs, databases and organizations (around 40,000 of them!) that offer drug coupons and rebates.

-- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) created the website to help patients get medicines for free or nearly free. Info also available at



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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