Part 2 of a three-part series for employers to lower costs and improve outcomes by getting the medications right. Part 1 can be found here.
July 31, 2019
Last month at the Public Sector Healthcare Roundtable’s 2nd Annual Congressional Forum, I shared a salient question at the heart of not only lowering prescription medication costs, but improving health outcomes: Is this the right medication for this person?
We’re wasting $528 billion—or 16% of the total annual U.S. health care spend—for additional medical resources used to resolve problems attributable to inappropriate use of medications. We’re paying for additional medications, emergency department visits, hospitalizations and provider visits because we didn’t get the medications right the first time.
Medications are involved in 80% of all treatments and impact every aspect of a patient’s life. Nearly 30% of adults in the U.S. take five or more medications. The choices for physicians are overwhelming; they’re choosing from among 10,000+ prescription medications when they write a prescription.
- Wrong prescription choices
- Skipped doses
- Medication that doesn’t work
- Medication that makes people sicker
- More health care resources consumed
- Waste, waste and more waste.
We can’t keep playing a game with this many losses—in quality of life, decreases in employee productivity, and life itself. More than 275,000 people die each year due to non-optimized medication use.
- appropriate for the patient,
- effective for the medical condition,
- safe given the comorbidities and other medications being taken, and
- able to be taken by the patient as intended.
This team-based, comprehensive approach will become even more important as new companion and complementary diagnostics, such as pharmacogenetic panel testing, enter the clinical mainstream.
If you are a physician, pharmacist, employer, consumer advocacy group, health system, payor or solutions provider, we encourage you to join our work designed to get the medications right!