Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Pricey Drugs May Not Mean Better Care

Study finds wide variations in drug spending, risky prescriptions for Medicare patients

From a November 3,2010 Health Day news item

By Robert Preidt

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) — Higher levels of drug spending don’t necessarily translate into better quality care for Medicare patients, a new study has found.

The analysis of the U.S. Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set revealed wide variation across the United States in both Medicare drug spending and the rate of inappropriate prescriptions for the elderly, said the researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health….

The findings contradict “the idea that high spending leads to better prescription practices,” lead investigator Yuting Zhang, an assistant professor of health economics, said in a University of Pittsburgh news release.

“Higher spending can be justified if it’s for drugs that are necessary and appropriate and improve patients’ health,” she said in the news release. “But if certain drugs are being incorrectly prescribed to seniors, then that can lead to complications and expensive interventions, such as hospitalization. As we try to reform health care to get costs under control, we need a better understanding of how spending differs regionally to make a positive impact.”

The study was published in the Nov. 3 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

SOURCE: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, news release, Nov. 3, 2010

November 5, 2010 - Posted by | Health News Items | ,

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