Medical costs are rising and so are prescription costs. Statistics show that 50% of Americans do not pick up their medication, and of the 50% that do pick up their meds, do not refill their medications after 3 months.
It can be easy to save money on medicine. Experts say following doctors' orders can save more than lives; it can save a health care system spiraling out of control.
"One of the key factors in rising health care costs is the failure of patients taking their medications correctly, and ending up in the ER due to the failed management of their disease processes." says Dr. Azeem Pasha, ER Physician. "Not following a prescribed regimen means it takes longer to get well-which has economic as well as physical costs. But more problematically, it can lead to long-term health problems that require more medications and hospitalization."
Magic bullet solutions to controlling drug costs, such as importation, are counterproductive, because they ruin the incentive of drug companies to innovate new lifesaving medicines by draining their research and development budgets. Not to mention quality control cannot be measured for drugs being shipped internationally. Packaging, temperature control and dosing can vary country to country.
"Many people don't realize that drug companies, not the government, bear the majority of the costs and risks of developing new medicines," says Christopher Viehbacher, former CEO of Sanofi. "The vast majority of new medicines are discovered and developed by the pharmaceutical industry, which invests more than four times more in R&D than the average industry does."
In fact, controlling health care costs is a long-term challenge with no easy solution. However, patients are a key part of the equation.
First, patients must gain a deeper appreciation for the role and importance of medicine to their overall well-being. In Missouri, Former Governor Matt Blunt signed a proclamation declaring September "Value of Medicines Awareness Month."
In addition, the Missouri Pharmacy Association, have launched a campaigns to educate consumers on how they can control health care costs by following their prescribed treatment regimen and exploring the many options for saving on their prescriptions.
"Taking medication properly is a win-win for patients and for society," says Dr. Pasha. "Patients' compliance with their prescribed drug regimens will lead to healthier, more productive lives. It's also a preventive measure against the type of long-term health complications that drive up health care costs for everybody. A healthier society translates into fewer long-term demands on the health care system."
Following doctors' orders saves you money!