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                 Cost of drug is small compared                    to the cost of not taking it.

McLean, VA – September 24, 2015  Health care reform is missing the mark on medicines. Everything is focused on how to reduce the cost of prescription drugs or how to reduce the cost of health care. The direct and indirect health care costs due to improper use of prescription drugs by patients is DOUBLE that of purchasing costs in the United States.

Research estimates that it cost at least $100 billion to purchase all the prescription drugs in the United States. However, the direct and indirect health care costs to treat the complications of nonadherence to prescription drugs was $180 billion.This means that it is costing the U.S. economy almost twice as much to treat the medical complications of not take a drug than it is to purchase all the prescription drugs in the country.
The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reported that the cost to purchase all the prescription medications in the US was $280 billion 2007. Assuming that patient medical complications due to patient nonadherence are the same, this means that $504 billion is being spent in direct and indirect health care costs. Patient safety is at high risk.

In these times of economic stress, more and more patients are deciding to stop taking their prescriptions drugs or cut the dose in half so that their prescription drugs will last longer. With some drugs, such as beta blockers that treat high blood pressure, this can be extremely dangerous. For example, a patient decided not to purchase his high blood pressure drugs that would have cost him $100, ended up with medical complications and a hospital bill of more than $10,000. In addition, this patient lost time from work and he had to live with seriously impaired eyesight for the rest of his life.  The cost of not taking the drug was far greater than the cost of the drug.

Patient education is key to helping patients understand the risks and increase patient safety.  Patients need patient information they can understand.  When patients are given high quality patient information and are taught to manage their prescription drugs safely, the health care costs to treat medication-related complications can easily be cut in half.

 


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Consumer Health Information Corporation
Experts in Patient Education and Adherence Since 1983

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McLean, Virginia 22102
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