KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Report: Improper Prescription Drug Use Drives Up Cost Of Care

Doctors and hospitals could save the U.S. $213 billion annually if they used prescription drugs more wisely, according to IMS health.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Study: Wiser Medication Use Could Save US $213 Billion A Year In Avoidable Health Care Costs
If doctors and patients used prescription drugs more wisely, they could save the U.S. health care system at least $213 billion a year, by reducing medication overuse, underuse and other flaws in care that cause complications and longer, more-expensive treatments, researchers conclude (6/19).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Improper Use Of Prescription Drugs Costs $200 Billion A Year, Report Finds
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 (Appleby, 6/19). 

Also in the news, a change is on the horizon in how diabetics on Medicare purchase supplies --  

The Associated Press/Washington Post: July 1 Brings Changes to Way Diabetics On Medicare Purchase Blood Testing Supplies
Medicare begins a major change next month that could save older diabetics money and time when they buy crucial supplies to test their blood sugar -- but it also may cause some confusion as patients figure out the new system. On July 1, Medicare opens a national mail-order program that will dramatically drop the prices the government pays for those products but patients will have to use designated suppliers. The goal is to save taxpayers money but seniors should see their copays drop, too (6/18).

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