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Continued: Study: Wiser medication use could save US $213 billion a year in avoidable health care costs

  • Article by: LINDA A. JOHNSON , AP Business Writer
  • Last update: June 19, 2013 - 9:05 AM

— Not using generic drugs when they are available, costing about $12 billion annually. That's a decreasing problem, as strategies of health plans and pharmacies encourage patients to choose generics by setting copayments for brand-name drugs a few times higher than for the generics. Without insurance, generics can cost 90 percent less than brand-name drugs. Today, when a generic is available, it's dispensed about 95 percent of the time.

— Multiple medication confusion, costing about $1.3 billion annually. For elderly patients taking five or more medicines, it's easy to mix up which pills should be taken when, and for those who are frail, those mistakes can cause serious harm. That problem likely will grow significantly with our aging population.

The report will be shared with government, medical and policy groups and other stakeholders in the health system, Aitken said.

The institute, whose clients include major drugmakers, noted that its report was prepared without funding from government or the pharmaceutical industry.

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