Arlington, Va. – An article citing the positive impact of prescription drugs on reducing other medical costs in the Medicaid program was published today by the distinguished peer-reviewed health journal Health Affairs in the September issue.
This research is further evidence of the impact of taking medications as prescribed – both in helping patients manage their chronic conditions and reducing emergency or catastrophic medical costs associated with medication non-adherence.
The article – “Increased Use Of Prescription Drugs Reduces Medical Costs In Medicaid Populations” – found that when prescription drugs are taken appropriately as prescribed by a physician, there is a reduction in other medical costs for certain Medicaid populations. The article was co-authored by Laura Miller, NACDS senior economist, along with M. Christopher Roebuck, president and CEO of RxEconomics LLC, J. Samantha Dougherty, senior director for policy and research at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and Robert Kaestner, professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
One of a collection of articles in a Health Affairs special report titled “Non-Communicable Diseases: The Growing Burden,” the NACDS co-authored article was unveiled at a special briefing today in Washington, DC.
Utilizing data on more than 1.5 million Medicaid enrollees to examine the impact of changes in prescription drug use on medical costs, the research found a one percent increase in overall prescription drug use was associated with decreases in non-prescription drug medical costs for three distinct groups of Medicaid beneficiaries.
Among blind or disabled adults, a 1 percent increase in drug usage was associated with a 0.108 percent decrease in total non-drug costs; for other adults there was a 0.167 percent decrease; and for children, there was a 0.041 percent decrease.
These patients had one or more of the following eight chronic disease conditions that are non-communicable diseases and are treated with prescription medications: hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes asthma or COPD, depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, seizure disorder and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
These findings further reinforce an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office that, for the Medicare population, a one percent increase in prescription utilization was associated with a one-fifth of one percent decrease in medical expenditures.
“We are pleased to announce the findings of this research published in Health Affairs today. Proper use of prescription medications is paramount in helping to improve patient health, especially for those with chronic conditions,” said NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE. “This research is further evidence of the impact of taking medications as prescribed – both in helping patients manage their chronic conditions and reducing emergency or catastrophic medical costs associated with medication non-adherence.”