Drug-therapy related problems cost over $76 billion

The cost of drug-therapy related problems in the ambulatory setting in the US is $76.6 billion annually


In a 1995 study published by Johnson and Bootman, they developed a decision-analytic model (based on a model by Hepler and Strand) for eight possible negative outcomes of drug therapy:


* Untreated indication
* Improper drug selection
* Subtherapeutic dosage
* Failure to receive drugs
* Overdosage
* Adverse drug reactions
* Drug interactions
* Drug use without indication

The model included probabilities and costs associated with the following therapeutic outcomes, any one of which could result from the above eight possibilities:


* No treatment necessary
* Physician visit
* Additional treatment
* Emergency department visit
* Hospital admission
* Long-term care facility admission
* Death

Their cost analysis based on this model estimated the annual cost of drug-related problems in the ambulatory care setting as costing $76.6 billion per year.  

However, a more recent study done in 2001 by Drs. Ernst and Grizzle has amended that estimate to $177.4 billion per year.  Clearly these high costs reflect the growing problems with reactions to prescription drugs. Dr. Ernst concludes that since drug-related morbidity and mortality continue to pose a serious medical and economic problem, more attention toward solutions is appropriate.

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