New research on the effects of prescription drugs on improved patient outcomes and reduced costs in the Medicaid program was published in Health Affairs this week. The study, coauthored by NACDS Senior Economist Laura Miller (right), M. Christopher Roebuck, president and CEO of RxEconomics LLC, (center), and J. Samantha Dougherty, senior director for policy and research at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, (left) was presented at a special briefing non-communicable diseases in Washington, D.C., on September 9. Photo: Health Affairs

New NACDS/PhRMA research published in the prominent policy journal Health Affairs shows that an increase in prescription drug use is associated with decreases in Medicaid costs for patients. The article is part of a Health Affairs special report on non-communicable diseases, which was presented at a special briefing in Washington, D.C., on September 9.

The study builds on research conducted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in 2012, which formally recognized the link between drug usage and costs in the elderly. The CBO acknowledged at the time the need for more research to see if the correlation between drug usage and decreased costs would be applicable in other populations, like Medicaid patients.

The findings of the new research quantify the impact of prescription drug use on Medicaid patients, which the authors of the study note will be useful for policy makers who are considering legislation that would affect medication use among Medicaid patients, as well as Medicaid program directors, who are always looking for ways to lower costs and improve patient health outcomes.