Life-saving cancer drugs don't come cheap, but research shows some or most of the medicine isn't actually being used to treat cancer patients.

Instead, a new study finds that Medicare and insurance companies waste roughly $3 billion a year on cancer medicine that is ultimately thrown away. This happens when pharmaceutical companies distribute the drugs in vials that contain a larger dose than necessary for the patients who have been prescribed them. What they don't use, they trash.

The study, published in the BMJ, found that the average patient prescribed Kyprolis, a drug for Myeloma, gets a dose of 34 mg, 26 mg of which is wasted. The researchers estimated that the value of the tossed medication is $231 million.

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