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:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... The iaedp Foundation, the premier ... professionals caring for those suffering from the full spectrum of disordered eating, announced today ... disorders professionals from nearly all 50 states and several countries converged on the Green ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... As the standards bearer of advanced cancer ... positions them as the go-to thought leader in all matters concerning oncology nursing. ... always-on, always-fresh news, views and advocacy engine, called ONS Voice. , The ONS ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Viewers who like to educate themselves on current issues and ... services, and societal issues tend to appreciate and love the "Informed" series, hosted by ... running events for causes around the world. , Running for charity has ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... “Finding Christ Through ... a devotional journal chronicling the writer’s path toward true communion with God. “Finding ... God #TruthwithGrace” is the creation of published author Lea Michelle Johnson, a follower ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... “The Adventures of Joey, The Dog ... dog who lives his life to the fullest, as God intended. “The Adventures of ... Holmgren, a mother and grandmother pursuing her passion for writing, especially about truth and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... NEW YORK , March 24, 2017 ... ... Research, a leading publisher of cannabis market research, the legal ... 27 percent CAGR through 2021, despite conflicting signals from the ... Analytics, points out that the two biggest drivers of growth ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Global Ampoules Market ... definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The Ampoules ... development history, competitive landscape analysis, and major regions, development ... ... 105 pages providing 10 company profiles and 183 tables ...
(Date:3/24/2017)...  HealthMine surveys with 9,250 insured consumers fielded from ... members want help from their plans in five key ... health, 2) help closing gaps in care, 3) better ... 5) relevant, real-time guidance. Meeting these needs is essential ... A Reason to Stay Engaged in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: