March 5, 2013
Some assert that medication wastage is:
- A significant problem in Medicare Part D;
- More prevalent in mail-service than retail pharmacy; and 3) is largely caused by how a drug is dispensed.
The reality is:
- Less than 1% of medications are “wasted” in Medicare Part D;
- Two-thirds of wastage occurs among prescriptions dispensed by drugstores; and
- Wastage is largely due to discontinuation of therapy, switching to a different drug, changing dosage, death, and other reasons unrelated to how patients fill prescriptions.
Major report findings:
- Less than 1% of all medications dispensed for Medicare beneficiaries are wasted.
- More than two-thirds of medication wasted in Medicare is dispensed by drugstores.
- Mail-service pharmacies are typically used only after a patient has already been stabilized on several 30-day prescriptions dispensed by a local drugstore.
- Waste related to mail-service “auto-refill” prescriptions accounts for just 0.02% of medication dispensed in Part D.