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

Carolyn Ha   |     May 29, 2019   |   SHARE THIS


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.

Carolyn Ha

Carolyn Ha Carolyn Ha, Pharm.D., is a Director in the Policy and Research Department at PhRMA, where she provides clinical expertise to shape policy development and advocacy related to population health and chronic disease management, improvement of medication use and clinical and quality management strategies. As a clinician, she is passionate about patient care and translating research into actionable policies that will ensure patients get the most out of their medications and creating a sustainable health care delivery system that incentivizes innovation. Carolyn received her Doctor of Pharmacy from Rutgers University and is a registered pharmacist in Virginia. Prior to joining PhRMA, she spent time as a practitioner in a community pharmacy and advocated on behalf of independent pharmacy owners. When she’s not working to improve the lives of patients through better use of medicines, Carolyn can be found spoiling her nephew and niece, exploring new restaurants, traveling and cheering on the New York Giants.

Topics: Medicare, Ask About Adherence

Search the Catalyst

View Posts by Topic

see all

View Posts by Date

see all

Subscribe to Email Updates