Economic Impact of Combination Therapies

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Costs associated with acute hospital care have increased in recent years. The most costly component is labor, which accounts for nearly 57% of all spending. Non-labor costs (ie, medication) increased 24% from 1997 to 2001. Acute care medication costs must be included in the costs associated with acquiring, dispensing, and administering the medication. By considering the total cost of medication, hospitals can make formulary decisions that best reflect the overall hospital cost associated with the medication, as opposed to any one department's cost. Combination therapy has been demonstrated to be cost effective in the outpatient setting for a variety of disease conditions resulting in increased compliance and lower overall health care resource use; these savings are applicable to the inpatient setting as well. While combination therapy is often associated with a higher acquisition cost, the most costly component of the total medication cost (the labor of administration) is decreased. Combination products also save space and help prevent medication errors by reducing the required number of administered doses, while providing increased safety and equivalent efficacy to multiple-dosage form regimens.

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