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Coins and pills on a scale Insurance plays a big role in whether consumers ask about alternative drugs: 39.5 percent of uninsured adults asked about lower-cost drugs compared to just 18 percent of those on private insurance. (Image: Shutterstock)

Many Americans feel they cannot afford the medications prescribed to them, and in recent years about 20 percent have asked their doctors for cheaper alternatives, according to a federal study.

New data from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control, show a significant number of Americans using different strategies to deal with prescriptions that they find difficult to afford. The center noted that about 60 percent of adult Americans report that they take prescription medications, and that approximately 70 percent of prescribed medications come with out-of-pockets costs, which average around $6 for generic drugs and around $30 for brand-name drugs.

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