Study says wiser medication use could cut health costs

by Linda A. Johnson

If doctors and patients used prescription drugs more wisely, they could save the U.S. health care system at least $213 billion a year, a study concludes.

The savings would come by reducing medication overuse, underuse and other flaws in care that cause complications and longer, more expensive treatments, researchers conclude.

The new findings by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics improve on numerous prior efforts to quantify the dollars wasted on health care.

Numerous experts previously have estimated that tens of billions, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars, could be better used each year to improve patient care and outcomes and to slow down spending by government health programs, insurers and consumers.

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