Guest post by Glen Stettin, M.D., senior vice president, clinical, research and new solutions, Express Scripts.
In the United States, we spent $325 billion on prescription drugs last year. However, more than $500 billion in additional related spending was wasted on two problematic (and essentially opposite) patient behaviors:
1) People who should take their medications but don’t. Patients who failed to adhere to their prescribed medication therapy cost the country $317.4 billion in avoidable hospitalizations and other medical costs last year.
2) People who shouldn’t take medications but do. Prescription drug abuse is deadlier than cocaine and heroin combined. Each year, the U.S. loses between 3 percent and 10 percent of every healthcare dollar spent – as much as $224 billion last year – to fraudulent prescriptions. More importantly, prescription drug overdoses kill more than 15,000 people and result in 1.2 million emergency room visits each year.