In fact, side effects derived from pharmaceutical medications add a half a trillion dollars to our domestic annual healthcare cost. Researchers from the University of San Diego came up with the staggering estimates that add in yet another unscrupulous layer to big pharma.
How does this translate to the rest of us? Well, ironically, this means that medications covered by insurance are causing side effects which need to be treated by insurance. This means increased insurance rates and often times, overall elevated medical expenses. Drug side efffects translate into more visits to doctors and more follow up treatments or rehabilitation. Pharmaceutical drug side effects are so rampant, many people don’t even realize they have them. Its become the normal to feel unfocused and lethargic for many. But the ones who do make the connection are widespread.
The annual price burden to our healthcare system is $495.3 billion to $672.7 billion annually. On an individual basis, this means $2,481 per patient. This is classified both other medication failures and new issues stemming from the medication protocol originally prescribed.
For many, drug side effects can often result in death.
Here’s a more analytical look at the total annual cost of drug-related deaths. (source)
This analysis has updated the annual cost of drug-related morbidity and mortality resulting from nonoptimized medication therapy from a third-party payer perspective and estimated it to be $528.4 billion. Nonoptimized medication therapy was also estimated to result in 275 689 deaths per year. The cost estimate represents the additional medical resources utilized (eg, additional medications, ED visits,
hospitalizations, LTC stays, provider visits) to resolve problems attributable to initial indication and utilization of prescription drugs, including nonadherence to indicated therapy. The potentially avoidable $528.4 billion estimate is roughly 16% of the total US health care expenditure ($3.2 trillion in 2015.)
All of this, of course, has a simple solution. If doctors would simply take more responsibility in patient care and work in unison with other doctors over matters involving potential side effects, we could ultimately lower the density of these issues that drag our healthcare economy down. But then again, too many doctors are taking pharmaceutical money, which amounts to blind-eye-syndrome for many doctors who might otherwise attempt to do the right thing.
Some argue that patients not taking medications as prescribed or instructed contributes to this inflation, but that’s a tough argument. Our society is clearly overly reliant on medications.