New research indicates that illness and death resulting from non-optimized medication therapy cost $528.4 billion, or 16% of total health care spending in the U.S., in 2016. Researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy at the University of California San Diego studied not only nonadherence (not taking a medication correctly, or at all), but also non-optimized medication therapy (where a taking a medication can lead to a new health problem).
This data was last updated in 2008, where the cost was estimated at $290 billion.
“We’ve experienced increased medical costs and we now have the Affordable Care Act, which gave 20 million more people access to prescription drugs and, as a result, more chances for nonadherence and medication-related health issues. Our study also clarifies that the cost of $528.4 billion is due to much more than simply nonadherence, which has been a misinterpretation of prior estimates, but also includes any situation when the medication regimen is not optimized to correctly and safely treat something treatable,” the researchers reported.