Where would Big Pharma be without old folks? Not only are people age 65-plus the ones most likely to have conditions addressed by prescription drugs. They also have coverage (often thanks to the Medicare Part D program) that enables them to pay for those medicines.
A report from the University of Michigan says the proportion of 65-plusers having prescription-drug coverage rose from 76 percent in 2004 (before the Medicare program kicked in) to more than 90 percent in 2006 (after it had taken effect). Moreover, says the report, "poor seniors are just as likely to have coverage as the rich."
This trend is reflected in a 60 percent decline in median out-of-pocket expenditures on prescription drugs by seniors who were newly covered by Part D.