Waste not, want not: Ways to avoid Rx waste

In its “2010 Drug Trend Report,” Express Scripts attributed much pharmacy-related waste to patients failing to follow three simple guidelines: Take medications as prescribed, take drugs that maximize clinical benefit for the lowest price and use the safest and cheapest delivery channel. While some of the suggested methods might not always be in retailers’ and patients’ best interest — such as using mail-order instead of visiting retail pharmacies — the $403 billion in 
pharmacy-related waste, projected to equal $1.2 trillion between 2010 and 2014, isn’t chump change, and both public and private payers pay attention such high numbers.

Still, many consumers have shown a willingness to change their behavior in ways that they think will help save money for the country, their employers and their health plans, according to research by the pharmacy benefit manager. Absolute majorities of consumers reported a willingness to use generic drugs, use home delivery and lose weight. Large percentages also said they would use a different retail pharmacy, use a limited physician network or pay higher premiums for their drugs.

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