IMS Health Study Identifies $200+ Billion Annual Opportunity from Using Medicines More Responsibly

IMS Health Study Identifies $200+ Billion Annual Opportunity from Using Medicines More Responsibly

IMS HealthColleen Burns, 1-610-244-2600

Avoidable costs of more than $200 billion are incurred each year in the U.S. healthcare system as a result of medicines not being used responsibly by patients and healthcare professionals, according to a new study released today by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. This represents 8 percent of the country’s total annual healthcare expenditures and amounts to millions of avoidable hospital admissions, outpatient treatments, pharmaceutical prescriptions and emergency room visits for patients.

The report – – examines six areas that contribute to unnecessary costs: medication nonadherence, delayed evidence-based treatment practice, misuse of antibiotics, medication errors, suboptimal use of generics and mismanaged polypharmacy in older adults. Together, these areas lead to unnecessary utilization of healthcare resources involving an estimated 10 million hospital admissions, 78 million outpatient treatments, 246 million prescriptions and four million emergency room visits annually. The study found significant opportunities for improvement – to ensure that patients receive the right medicines at the right time, and take them in the right way.

“As our study makes clear, drugs are often not used optimally, resulting in significant unnecessary health system spending and patient burdens,” said Murray Aitken, executive director, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. “Those avoidable costs could pay for the healthcare of more than 24 million currently uninsured U.S. citizens. Reaching a meaningful level of consensus and alignment among stakeholders, based on measured and proven success models, is a key step to unlocking the $200 billion opportunity identified in our study.”

The IMS Institute report, which updates existing published research, finds that progress is being made to address some of the challenges that drive wasteful spending in many parts of the U.S. healthcare system. Medication adherence among large populations of patients with hypertension, hyperlipidemia and diabetes has improved 3-4 percent since 2009. In addition, the proportion of patients diagnosed with a cold or the flu who inappropriately received antibiotic prescriptions has fallen from 20 percent to 6 percent since 2007. And, patients are now receiving lower-cost generic alternatives to branded medications, when available, 95 percent of the time.

The report’s key findings include the following:

The full report, including a detailed description of the methodology, is available at . The report can also be downloaded as an app via iTunes. The study was produced independently as a public service, without industry or government funding.

The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics provides key policy setters and decision makers in the global health sector with unique and transformational insights into healthcare dynamics derived from granular analysis of information. It is a research-driven entity with a worldwide reach that collaborates with external healthcare experts from across academia and the public and private sectors to objectively apply IMS Health's proprietary global information and analytical assets. More information about the IMS Institute can be found at: .

IMS Health is a leading worldwide provider of information, technology and services dedicated to making healthcare perform better. With a global technology infrastructure and unique combination of real-world evidence, advanced analytics and proprietary software platforms, IMS Health connects knowledge across all aspects of healthcare to help clients improve patient outcomes and operate more efficiently. The company’s expert resources draw on data from nearly 100,000 suppliers, and on insights from more than 40 billion healthcare transactions processed annually, to serve more than 5,000 healthcare clients globally. Customers include pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer health manufacturers and distributors, providers, payers, government agencies, policymakers, researchers and the financial community. Additional information is available at .