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Which States Waste the Most Money on Drugs?

California wastes the most money on prescription drugs, according to Express Scripts' (ESRX) annual report on drug spending trends. Texas and Florida aren't far behind. The report paints a picture of a fatter, more wasteful nation unwilling to change its bad habits and, as a result, paying $403 billion more than we need to for medicines. It breaks the waste down by state (click to enlarge):

The colors reflect per-capita waste by state (blue is the lowest third, red is the middle third and yellow is the upper third). Dollar amounts represent total waste for each state in billions.

Express says that in 2010, pharmacy-related waste in healthcare spending exceeded $403 billion, for three main reasons:

  • Waste that would be avoided if patients stopped using main street pharmacies and moved to home delivery: $88.3 Billion
  • Waste from the use of high-cost medications that generate no additional health benefit over cheaper generics: $56.7 Billion
  • Waste from patients who do not take medications as prescribed, resulting in unnecessary future medical intervention: $258.3 Billion
Diabetes drugs tied with cholesterol treatments as the No. 1 most-used drugs "per member per year" in 2010, the report notes:

The diabetes problem is getting bigger, Express says:

As recently as 2005, diabetes drugs were fifth on the list, moving to fourth in 2006, third in 2008 and second in 2009.
Lastly, here are the top 10 specialty drug classes last year:

Notice that inflammatory conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease etc.), M.S. and cancer are all categories cluttered with lots of new, branded drugs and companies compete to charge the highest price possible.


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