Dallas News: Doctors should know the cost of the drugs they prescribe, but most don’t


By Hussain Lalani, Contributor

On July 1, more than 30,000 new doctors will begin medical residency and have the honor of serving patients across the spectrum of health care. I am one of them. And I’m concerned that we will contribute to the $750 billion epidemic of excessive health care spending, according to a 2012 Institute of Medicine report, and risk financially hurting our patients if we do not know the cost of what we prescribe.

Most patients are in a black box about the specific cost of health care services. A national poll from the West Health Institute and the University of Chicago shows that 4 in 10 Americans skip medical tests or treatment because they are too expensive, and, according to an Ipsos survey, 85 percent of Americans are concerned with the cost of health care.

In the U.S., we spend twice as much on health care as other high-income countries spend, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The major drivers of this difference include the price of services, including diagnostic tests, prescription drugs and administrative costs. Not surprisingly, the authors report that the U.S. performs the highest number of per-capita CT scans among 10 other high-income countries, including the Canada, Japan and Germany. Furthermore, it’s no secret that prescription drug costs are spiraling out of control.

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