FHIcommunications logo Inform | Connect | Engage 
March 15, 2018
Volume IX |  Issue 11      
The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make
Aaron Kessler, Elizabeth Cohen and Katherine Grise

As tens of thousands of Americans die from prescription opioid overdoses each year, an exclusive analysis by CNN and researchers at Harvard University found that opioid manufacturers are paying physicians huge sums of money -- and the more opioids a doctor prescribes, the more money he or she makes.
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Do antidepressants work? 
Aaron Carroll, MD, MS | The Incidental Economist

More people in the United States are on antidepressants, as a percentage of the population, than any other country in the world. And yet the drugs' efficacy has been hotly debated. Some believe that the short-term benefits are much more modest than widely thought, and that harms may outweigh benefits in the long run. Others believe that they work, and that they can be life-changing. Settling this debate has been much harder than you might think.
The key drivers behind U.S. healthcare spending may surprise you
A March 13, 2018 JAMA post by Irene Papanicolas, PhD, Liana R. Woskie, MSc and Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, examines Health Care Spending in the United States and Other High-Income Countries.

Why is health care spending in the United States so much greater than in other high-income countries?
In 2016, the United States spent nearly twice as much as 10 high-income countries on medical care and performed less well on many population health outcomes. Contrary to some explanations for high spending, social spending and health care utilization in the United States did not differ substantially from other high-income nations. Prices of labor and goods, including pharmaceuticals and devices, and administrative costs appeared to be the main drivers of the differences in spending.
Efforts targeting utilization alone are unlikely to reduce the growth in health care spending in the United States; a more concerted effort to reduce prices and administrative costs is likely needed.
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Patients Overpay For Prescriptions 23% Of The Time, Analysis Shows 
Sydney Lupkin | KHN

The USC study, released Tuesday, analyzed the prices that 1.6 million people paid for 9.5 million prescriptions in the first half of 2013, based on data from Optum Clinformatics, an organization that sells anonymized claims data for analysis, and National Average Retail Price (NARP) data, which contained drug prices paid by insurers and was based on a national survey of pharmacists. They found that customers overpaid for their prescriptions 23 percent of the time, with an average overpayment of $7.69 on those transactions. The study showed that the overpayments totaled $135 million during that six-month period.