Magazine article Drug Topics

Annual Cost of Rx Therapy Problems Placed at $77 Billion

Magazine article Drug Topics

Annual Cost of Rx Therapy Problems Placed at $77 Billion

Article excerpt

Pharmacy groups are applauding the release of a long-anticipated study on the staggering financial costs of drug-related treatment problems. The study viewed pharmaceutical care as a major way to reduce the estimated $76.6 billion annual toll directly associated with negative therapeutic outcomes resulting from drug therapy.

"The largest component of the total cost comprised drug-related hospitalizations, that is, an estimated 8.76 million admissions at a cost of $47.4 billion annually, or approximately 62% of the total cost," wrote J. Lyle Bootman, dean of the University of Arizona's pharmacy school and Jeffrey A. Johnson, also of the university. "Based on 31.1 million hospital admissions in 1992, the number of admissions estimated from the model suggested that 28.2% of all hospital admissions were a result of drug-related morbidity and mortality."

Writing in the Oct. 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, Bootman and Johnson also listed 3.15 million admissions to long-term care facilities at a cost of $14.4 billion; 115 million additional visits to physicians, nearly $7.5 billion; 17 million emergency department visits, $5.3 billion; and 76.3 million more prescriptions, $1.93 billion.

The study estimated almost 200,000 deaths from untoward drug treatment, on which no cost figure was placed. It suggested that if lost economic productivity estimates were added to the direct-cost calculations, the total cost of all preventable drug use problems could be as high as $182 billion.

The study had been widely discussed in pharmacy circles since it was accepted for publication last winter. It was partially supported by a grant from the Coalition for Consumer Access to Pharmaceutical Care, which consists of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, American Pharmaceutical Association, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, American Society of Health-system Pharmacists, National Consumers League, and National Pharmaceutical Association. …

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