This informative piece points to the incredibly high risk of damage and death due to harmful drug interactions that treating physicians are all too typically unaware of. Seniors are particularly vulnerable. These negative drug interactions are the fourth leading cause of death in the US—pretty scary! Here are the salient facts, and the link for the full news piece.
**adverse drug events (ADEs) in the U.S. are estimated to be the fourth leading cause of death. Drug interactions are tied to 1.3 million emergency department visits each year, and 350,000 annual hospitalizations, according to the CDC.**
**They are costly, as well. Research estimates the annual cost of ADEs is between $30 billion and $130 billion.**
**Combined with the phenomenon of medication overload, we spend more money to correct problems related to medication (an estimated $528 billion in 2016) than the amount we spend on the medications themselves ($329 billion in 2016).**
**To address the problem, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), which runs experimental model designs within the Medicare and Medicaid programs, launched a model in 2017, called Enhanced Medication Therapy Management (EMTM). It created financial incentives for private prescription drug plans — the entities administering Medicare’s drug program — to develop solutions to prevent ADEs. One of those solutions involved pharmacists and physicians working collaboratively to improve the coordination and assessment of all medications. The results were significant.**
**A study published in 2021 evaluated the impact of pharmacist-delivered medication safety reviews (MSRs) on total medical expenditures, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and mortality in Medicare Part D beneficiaries whose plan was a participant of the EMTM model. Those who received these holistic reviews demonstrated significant improvements in every metric compared with eligible beneficiaries who did not receive the EMTM services.**
**While the model ended in December 2021, it showed it was possible to reduce emergency department visits, improve patient quality of care and save lives, reducing net Medicare expenditures by addressing medication interactions prior to the development of ADEs.**
**These results are a clear call to action.**