Switching to Immediate-Release Drugs May Save Billions

The Medicare Part D and Medicaid programs could save a significant amount of money if more patients took immediate-release (IR) medications that require two doses per day instead of extended-release (ER) versions that are taken just once a day, according to a recent study. The cross-sectional study analyzed 20 extended-release drugs with 37 Medicare formulations and 36 Medicaid formulations. Between 2012 and 2017, Medicare Part D and Medicaid could have saved a combined $13.7 billion through a switch from ER to IR formulations. “It’s not a huge difference in terms of patient convenience, but the cost difference is remarkable,” study coauthor Ambarish Pandey, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, told Reuters.

© 2023 MMIT
Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong produces infographics and data stories on health insurance and specialty pharmacy for AIS Health. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting. Before joining AIS in 2018, she worked at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese.

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