Navigation Links
Free Drugs After Heart Attack Would Save Money, Lengthen Lives
Date:2/18/2008

More patients would take recommended medications, study says

MONDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Eliminating the cost of medications for people who have heart attacks would lead to longer lives and lower overall medical costs, new research suggests.

"These are highly effective medications that are relatively inexpensive, and the events they are designed to prevent are extremely expensive," said study author Dr. Niteesh K. Choudhry, a researcher in the division of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. His report is published in the Feb. 19 issue of Circulation.

The study covered four drugs commonly prescribed after heart attacks -- aspirin, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and statins. Use of those drugs is relatively low under the current system, in which people share the cost with Medicare or other health insurance plans, Choudhry said. For example, only 46 percent of people take beta blockers after heart attacks, and only 50 percent take cholesterol-lowering statins. Less than 20 percent of heart patients used all four of the medications, according to the study.

The model set up by Choudhry and his colleagues doesn't assume a major increase in compliance with prescriptions, because "cost is just one reason why patients do not take medications," he said, adding that relying on previous studies of drug cost and use, the model assumes an increase of about 14 percent, with perhaps 64 percent of people taking the medicines if they were free.

The result would be an increase in average survival after a heart attack, from the present 8.21 quality-adjusted life years to 8.56 years. "That is small in an absolute sense, but in an aggregate sense, it is very large," Choudhry said.

And medical costs over a lifetime would go down, from the current $114,000 to $111,600, the study added.

"This study adds to a growing body of research showing how important it is to reduce or eliminate patient co-payment for drugs," said Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center in New York. "Medicare should take the lead in forging the creation of drug coverage that allows patients to get the medications their doctors consider vital."

"It certainly makes sense from the medical point of view," said Dr. Richard A. Stein, a professor of medicine at New York University. "Studies have shown that giving even middle-income people free drugs improves outcome. The greatest benefit will go to people in the lower socioeconomic and immigrant population."

But the study is theoretical, Stein noted. "One would like to see some real-world trial to determine whether this works in fact, whether providing free drugs without co-payment would make a difference, he said.

Such a study has begun at Harvard, Choudhry noted. His group is working with a major health insurer, not Medicare, in a trial that assigns some people to get medications without cost, while others will get the standard co-payment.

"It will take several years for us to get answers," Choudhry said. But similar investigations are being started by other medical insurers and corporations, he added.

The idea is potentially applicable to some other chronic conditions, such as congestive heart failure and diabetes, Choudhry noted. And, if the use of recommended medications after a heart attack goes up more than predicted by the model, "the cost savings would be phenomenal," he said.

More information

To learn about how to stay on your statins, consult the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.



SOURCES: Niteesh K. Choudhry, M.D., Ph.D., pharmoeconomist, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Robert M. Hayes, president, Medicare Rights Center, New York City; Richard A. Stein, M.D., professor, medicine, New York University; Feb. 19, 2008, Circulation


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New review suggests caution on drugs to raise good cholesterol
2. Can cancer drugs combine forces?
3. Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of antirejection drugs
4. Study provides hope that some transplant patients could live free of anti-rejection drugs
5. RA Drugs Linked to Slight Skin Cancer Risk
6. Report on patients access to cancer drugs uses flawed methods to reached flawed conclusions
7. Rock N Roll: Sex, Drugs and an Early Exit
8. Australian-led international study shows blood pressure drugs cut death rate in type 2 diabetes
9. Consumer Reports Analysis: Drugs for Nerve Pain, Fibromyalgia Effective, But Not Always Best
10. Are Bargaining Groups Hired by Independent Drugstores Causing Payment Delays to Pharmacies?
11. 2 drugs equally effective for heart patients undergoing angioplasty, Mayo study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Free Drugs After Heart Attack Would Save Money, Lengthen Lives
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The event is being held on April 7, 2016 from ... Triumph Over Parkinson’s will fund nearly $100,000 for research for the care and cure ... disease and is the architect of this informative event to raise awareness and funds ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... H. Van Allen have signed a joint enrollment and degree completion agreement. ... toward associate and baccalaureate degrees at FHU|Dickson. , The agreement allows students ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... from across the country gathered at the La Valencia Hotel in San Diego, ... PROSHRED Chicago was named the year’s most outstanding franchise, walking away with the ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... SARASOTA, Fla., (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... appetizing recipes just in time for this weekend’s Big Game. Take the stress out ... ingredients that will keep your guests happy at every stage of the game. , ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... 05, 2016 , ... Stuart Bentkover, MD, FACS is thrilled to ... the most effective tattoo removal today, Dr. Bentkover is the only doctor in Central ... the PicoSure has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 Worldwide Radiology ... significant growth as next generation systems provide a ... radiology for cancer surgery. New systems pinpoint the ... that has been such a problem previously, limiting ... Radiosurgery robots take cancer surgery far beyond what ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Feb. 4, 2016  Montoya Love is recognized by ... field of Pharmaceuticals. Montoya is the Regulatory Systems Operations ... Manufacturing and selling a ... Dickinson provides healthcare institutions, clinical laboratories and life ... countries across the globe. ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... (NASDAQ: OMCL ), a leading provider of medication ... results for its fiscal year and fourth quarter ended ... GAAP results: Revenue for the fourth quarter of ... from the third quarter of 2015, and up $8.8 ... Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2015 was $484.6 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: