We’ve long known that prescription medicines can yield substantial savings in other areas of healthcare spending by reducing costly hospitalizations, surgeries, visits to the emergency room and other non-drug drivers of health spending. More importantly, they also offer incredible life-saving and life-enhancing benefits to patients.
Unfortunately, not all patients take their medicines as prescribed – which has a huge cost for both their personal health and for the healthcare system as a whole.
Today, the New York Times’s Jane Brody reported on a new review in the Annals of Internal Medicine which sought to quantify the report:
The numbers are staggering. “Studies have consistently shown that 20 percent to 30 percent of medication prescriptions are never filled, and that approximately 50 percent of medications for chronic disease are not taken as prescribed,” according to a review in Annals of Internal Medicine. People who do take prescription medications — whether it’s for a simple infection or a life-threatening condition — typically take only about half the prescribed doses.
This lack of adherence, the Annals authors wrote, is estimated to cause approximately 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, and to cost the American health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion a year.
Read the full piece here.