Thursday, August 18, 2016

Canada spends over $400 million on medicine that harms seniors

Public Release: 22-Jun-2016
Canada spends over $400 million on medicine that harms seniors
University of British Columbia

Canada spends more than $400 million annually on drugs prescribed to seniors even though the medicines should be avoided for older patients, according to new UBC research.

The study's authors conclude that the full cost to Canada's health-care system is closer to $2 billion when hospital visits and other repercussions of inappropriate prescriptions are factored in.

"We're wasting vast sums of money on drugs that we know pose more risks than benefits for patients over 65 years of age," said Steve Morgan, a professor in the school of population and public health. "Canada urgently needs a national strategy to ensure that older patients receive only those medications that are appropriate for their health and for their age."

Physiological changes associated with aging alter the effects of many drugs, making some medications potentially inappropriate for older adults.


Morgan believes that costs associated with developing a Canadian strategy on the use of medicines - estimated to be between $40 to $60 million for Canada - would be more than offset by the reduced cost of inappropriate prescriptions for older adults alone.

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