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Report: Improper Use Of Rx Drugs Costs $200 Billion A Year

(Kaiser Health News) The U.S. spends $200 billion each year — about 8 percent of the nation’s health care tab — on medical care stemming from improper or unnecessary use of prescription drugs, a new report out Wednesday says.
Much of those costs result from unneeded hospitalizations or doctor visits, according to the study by the IMS Health’s Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which provides data and other consulting services to the health care industry. Medical costs are driven up by patients who don’t get the right medications or fail to take their drugs, the misuse of antibiotics, medication errors and inadequate oversight when patients take multiple drugs.
Even though the use of lower cost generic drugs is high, further increases could shave $10 billion in costs, the report says.
Some private and government pilot programs aiming to better coordinate patient care have helped reduce the problems, the report said. Some provisions in the federal health law that create financial incentives to better coordinate care and to reduce hospital readmissions may further that progress, said author Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.
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