facebook Unnecessarily high prescription drug doses lead to billions in wasted Medicare spending

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Unnecessarily high prescription drug doses lead to billions in wasted Medicare spending

Discarded Medicare Part B drugs led to $1.4 billion in wasted spending in 2017 and 2018, according to a new report from MedicareAdvantage.com, a Medicare insurance broker.

The study analyzed claims data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, finding that Medicare spent $695 million on discarded drugs in 2017 and $725 million in 2018. Cancer and chemotherapy drugs accounted for most of the unused drug waste

Why weren’t these potentially life-saving drugs used? Fierce Healthcare reports that in many cases, a single-dose vial contains a higher dose than is needed, leading to the excess being discarded.

For 49 drugs, Medicare wasted more than $49 million in 2018 alone.

The $1.4 billion in waste could have covered a year’s worth of insulin for more than 3.3 million Americans, according to the study.

The report also pointed to the traditional “buy and bill” model for providers stocking Part B drugs. A provider, such as a hospital or clinic, buys vials of a therapy and then bills when they’re used, incentivizing the waste of any excess product to secure the full reimbursement per vial. It’s also a great deal for drug manufacturers.

“Profits are increased by billing for the whole vial, even if only a portion of it is needed and used,” the analysts wrote. “Doctors and hospitals also enjoy bloated profit margins under this system.”

Do you think something should be done to prevent wasting billions of dollars on discarded prescription drugs? Let us know.