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Dispensing prescription drugs in 3-month supplies reduces drug costs by a third
Date:11/20/2009

four percent of the prescriptions examined were dispensed in three-month supplies; the remainder were dispensed in one-month supplies. "This indicates that there is a significant amount of cost savings yet to be realized by converting from one-month supplies to three-month supplies," Alexander said.

The average monthly out-of-pocket cost for a one-month supply was $20.44 compared with $15.10 for a three-month supply yielding a 29% savings after adjustment for potential confounders. The corresponding numbers for the average monthly total costs were $42.72 and $37.95, respectively, yielding an 18% savings after adjustment for potential confounders.

If all the drugs in the study had been provided as three-month supplies, the out-of-pocket savings would have amounted to an estimated $148.6 million. Total savings would have amounted to $245.1 million. All figures are in 2005 dollars.

Patients' sex, race, level of education and number of chronic conditions did not seem to predict who was most likely to fill a 3-month supply, Alexander said. "We were surprised to find that there were no substantial systematic differences in the characteristics of individuals filling one-month and three-month supplies."

"Patients who are paying a lot each month for medicinesespecially to treat chronic conditionsshould investigate whether they can save money by using a three-month supply," he said. "Physicians need to keep this in mind as a potent way to help patients afford their medications."


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Contact: Greg Borzo
greg.borzo@uchospitals.edu
773-795-0892
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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Dispensing prescription drugs in 3-month supplies reduces drug costs by a third
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