Nonoptimized Drug Therapy Costs More Than $500 Billion Annually

After initial prescription use, the average cost of an individual experiencing treatment failure was $2,481
After initial prescription use, the average cost of an individual experiencing treatment failure was $2,481

(HealthDay News) — The estimated annual cost of drug-related morbidity and mortality resulting from nonoptimized medication therapy is more than half a trillion dollars in the United States, according to a study published online March 26 in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

Jonathan H. Watanabe, Pharm.D., Ph.D., from the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues used nationally representative data sources to estimate the cost of prescription drug-related morbidity and mortality in the United States.

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The researchers found that the estimated annual cost of prescription drug-related morbidity and mortality resulting from nonoptimized medication therapy was $528.4 billion in 2016 dollars (range, $495.3 billion to $672.7 billion). After initial prescription use, the average cost of an individual experiencing treatment failure, a new medical problem, or both was $2,481, $2,610, or $2,572, respectively.

"We propose expansion of comprehensive medication management programs by clinical pharmacists in collaborative practices with physicians and other prescribers as an effective and scalable approach to mitigate these avoidable costs and improve patient outcomes," the authors write.

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