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More Consumers Buying Medicines by Mail

Of Americans who buy prescription drugs, the proportion who purchase them from mail order pharmacies rose from less than 9% in 2000 to more than 13% in 2005, according to the latest news and numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). During the same time frame, the proportion of Americans who bought their prescription medicines from drug stores slipped from 65% to 61%; from pharmacies in clinics, HMOs, or hospitals declined from 15% to 13%; and from pharmacies inside supermarkets and super stores like Target and Wal-Mart stores fell from 32% to 28%.

AHRQ found the following trends among purchasers through mail order pharmacies in 2005:

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

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