Master of Science
Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science
David A Holdford
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF WASTE IN PRESCRIBING, DISPENSING, AND MEDICATION CONSUMPTION IN THE UNITED STATES
By Sarah A. Almanie, M.S.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Virginia Commonwealth University, 2015.
Major Director: David A. Holdford, R.Ph., M.S., Ph.D., FAPhA
Department of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science
OBJECTIVES: This research examines waste associated with the medication use process which consists of unfilled prescriptions, abandoned prescriptions, or unused prescription medications. The aim of this study is to quantify the direct medical costs of medication waste in delivery of care in the United States.
METHODS: A review of published literature and data from the 2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey was used to quantify the number of prescriptions wasted at different stages of the medication prescribing and use process and the associated costs were calculated.
RESULTS: In 2012, more than 26 million prescriptions were either unfilled or abandoned, and more than 225 million resulted in dispensed medications that were not used. The total cost of this waste was estimated at $30.4 billion.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients who do not fulfill their role in the medication use process cause significant, avoidable costs to the health care system beyond the health outcomes not achieved.
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