As the cost of necessities like food and gas rise -- along with everything else -- more people are trying to decide which of their basic necessities is the most important and what they can do without. According to The New York Times, medications are frequently the lowest priority. Prescription spending is still highest in the world, the paper reports, at an estimated $286.5 billion last year, but the decline in prescriptions is at its lowest point in over a decade.
If the trend continues, the Times writes, manageable conditions could escalate into major problems, which could "eventually raise the nation's total health care bill and lower the nation's standard of living." In addition to an estimated 47 million people without health insurance, many people have plans that don't cover the cost of medications, the paper reports.