More Americans Buying Medicine by Mail: AHRQ

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 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

During the same time frame, the proportion of Americans who bought their prescription medicines from drug stores slipped from 65 percent to 61 percent; from pharmacies in clinics, HMOs, or hospitals, declined from 15 percent to 13 percent; and from pharmacies inside supermarkets and super stores like Target and Wal-Mart stores fell from 32 percent to 28 percent.

Among Americans 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.

For more information, go to www.ahrq.gov.

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