Prescription drugs lower Medicare costs, CBO study finds

NCPA heralds report

WASHINGTON — Increasing the prescriptions filled by Medicare beneficiaries by 1% would reduce the program's spending on medical services by about 0.2% by reducing costs in such areas as hospitalizations, according to a new report by the Congressional Budget Office.

The report, "Offsetting Effects of Prescription Drug Use on Medicare's Spending for Medical Services," contrasted with previous CBO studies that found insufficient evidence of an "offsetting" effect of prescription drug use on medical services spending.

In response to the report, the National Community Pharmacists Association, a trade group representing independent pharmacies, highlighted what it called pharmacists' role in reducing costs in the Medicare program through services like using generics and helping to ensure compliance and adherence.

"We commend CBO for acknowledging the growing body of evidence verifying what community pharmacists have known for some time," NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey said. "Namely, that the more patients have their prescriptions filled and adhere to medications their doctors prescribe, the healthier they will be, and the likelihood of costlier interventions — including hospitalizations — diminishes, reducing healthcare costs."

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