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When you have the wrong medication, or it adversely interacts with another prescription you are taking, you could get sick—or worse.  According to a new study, in addition to contributing to patient injury and death, poor medication management increases the already high cost of healthcare.

As individuals, we want to know that we are doing the best to maintain our health.  By seeing a doctor, taking appropriate medication, and following suggestions, we do our best.  Healthcare providers see many patients each day.  For some doctors, it becomes a blur.  Prescriptions are written, directions are charted, and it is time to see the next patient.

In a study published in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, researchers from the University of California San Diego created an even bigger picture to get an idea of the costs incurred when communication about medication between individuals and healthcare providers gets lost in translation.

In addition to people injured and lives lost, the study estimates the cost of non-optimized medication therapy in the US is about $528.4 billion—or about 16 percent of total health care costs in the US each year.

What Is Optimized Medication Therapy?

Use of prescription medication among adults continues to rise in the US.  In addition, polypharmacy, or the number of medications taken each day by individuals, is increasing. About three of every five adults take at least one medication on a daily basis

Although getting a needed prescription seems simple, it is not.  The drug you are provided is based on the knowledge and diagnostic skill of your treating physician and their knowledge of you and the condition for which you are seeking treatment.

Assuming you were provided the right medication for your history and complaint, you will purchase and take the medication as directed.  Overall, both you and your doctor expect the process will provide hoped-for physical improvement from taking the medication.  Yet, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with this simple process, including:

  • A patient does not understand how and when to take the medication, or may feel that taking the medication is not important. When a doctor does not take adequate time to explain the importance of the medication, a patient may decide not to fill the prescription.
  • A patient may take the prescription as directed and suffer adverse effects from the drug, or an interaction with a drug they are already taking. This most often occurs when a healthcare provider has not taken an adequate patient history, or when there is little communication between the physician and patient. It can also occur when the pharmacy fails to consider all medications prescribed or as to avoid any adverse drug reaction.
  • Patients of any age may find prescription instructions confusing. Elderly patients may have difficulty filling their prescription and remembering to take it as directed.

When your medication management is optimized, you are prescribed the right drug, you understand the medication, why it is being prescribed, and how to take it.  You are able to pick-up and pay for the prescription and take as directed.

If there are errors in prescribing or dispensing a drug, or if you are unable to fill or take the drug as advised, your condition may worsen, as with an antibiotic prescribed for an infection, or a statin drug prescribed to lower cholesterol.

Poor medication management and medication error reduces your chances of recovery and boosts the cost of your healthcare.  Improve your odds of good health by ensuring your doctor understands your medical history, explains your medication, and follows up with you when needed.

Experienced Legal Service In Baltimore And Washington, D.C. If You Suffer From A Medical Error

With more than thirty years of successfully obtaining compensation on behalf of injured clients, Schochor, Staton, Goldberg, and Cardea, P.A. delivers knowledgeable legal service when you are hurt by a medical mistake.  Contact us or call 410-234-1000 to speak with our attorneys about your case at no charge.