Ask About Adherence: Improving adherence among osteoporosis patients could save up to $6.52 billion

Carolyn Ha
Carolyn Ha May 29, 2019


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Ask About Adherence is a blog series featuring Q&A’s with experts and new medication adherence resources. In this post, we feature a recent study on the savings associated with better use of osteoporosis medications.

A recent study from KNG Health found that improving the adherence rates of osteoporosis medications in older adults from 50% to full compliance could save $1.13 to $6.52 billion in Medicare payments from avoided medical service costs.

Currently, only half of non-fractured osteoporosis patients with Medicare coverage receive bisphosphonate treatments, meaning there are unrealized savings and opportunities to address adherence. In addition to the savings in Medicare payments, the study found this improved adherence would save $2.67 to $18.9 billion in reduced long-term care services annually.

The study also found this better treatment adherence would lead to better outcomes, including:

  • Almost 5,000 fewer hip fractures per 100,000 people
  • Almost 3,000 avoided long-term care admissions per 100,000 people

Better treatment adherence can also decrease spending on direct medical and custodial services.[1] This would offset the costs of bisphosphonate treatments. For example, over a 75-year-old woman’s lifetime, bisphosphonate treatment would decrease spending:

  • Between $640 (mild risk) and $2,006 (high risk) due to avoided hip fractures
  • Between $1,785 (mild risk) and $5,816 (high risk) due to avoided long-term care cost

As National Osteoporosis Month comes to a close, these timely findings present an opportunity for better health outcomes for patients with osteoporosis as well as reduced Medicare spending for medical services. Learn more here.

[1] Congressional Budget Office. “Offsetting Effects of Prescription Drug Use on Medicare’s Spending for Medical Service.” November 2012.

Topics: Medicare, Ask About Adherence