Americans waste $163 billion annually due to behaviors relatedto prescription drugs - like forgetfulness and procrastination -according to a report from pharmacy benefit management company Express Scripts.

The company says the new report is the first ever to analyzethese hidden health care costs related to prescription drugs. TheExpress Scripts 2009 Drug Trend Report - which has beenreleased annually for the past 14 years - quantifies changes indrug spend on a year-to-year basis and details the costly effectsof irrational behaviors on pharmacy-related costs.

According to Express Scripts, the $163 billion in wastefulspending results from three key factors:

  • $106 billion from medical costs of non-adherence totherapy.
  • $51 billion in missed opportunities related to lower-costmedication alternatives, both brand and generic.
  • $6 billion in missed opportunities related to lower-costoptions for delivery of medications.

Express Scripts says it is the first company to "applybehavioral science to address healthcare challenges thatindividuals, policymakers and employers have faced for years."

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