“With the average age of drugs on the market hovering at about 30 years old, the potential to reduce costs—and increase patient health outcomes—is enormous,” the school said.
The research was co-authored with Katharina Blankart, professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, who was a visiting scholar at Columbia during part of the work. Researchers examined data from the Truven Health Marketscan database, which includes pharmacy and medical claims data for about 50 million insured employees and their family members.
Though higher adherence levels may contribute to an initial spike in costs due to newer drugs being more expensive and in higher demand, overall health care costs can be reduced by the positive impact of those innovative drugs on patients’ health, the researchers noted.
“Prescribers and pharmacy benefit managers should be aware that patients tend to be more adherent to newer drugs within a therapeutic class when making prescription choices,” they concluded.
The study was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research. The financial support was the equivalent of more than $500,000.