Monday, August 23, 2010

Study Reveals Increased Use of Antibiotics by Seniors

A University of Pittsburgh study of spending on antibiotics under Medicare Part D shows an increase in antibiotics use by seniors with pneumonia, which is an improvement, but also an increase in broad-spectrum antibiotics, which could mean an overuse of inappropriate drugs.
The study’s lead author, Yuting Zhang, of the Graduate School of Public Health says there’s been a major improvement for those with pneumonia who did not have drug coverage before the implementation of Medicare Part D. “It’s important that they use antibiotics to control their condition.”
However, she says there is also a misuse of prescription antibiotics, and this could lead to excessive government spending and overdose.
Zhang says there are a few things that can be done to prevent the misuse of these antibiotics without changing Medicare Part D. “There could be different education programs or reimbursement policy changes.” For example, she says policymakers could consider using a different pricing strategy that may involve charging higher for certain drugs that may not be appropriate for certain patients.
The assistant professor of health economics says they maintain one goal: to find another type of reimbursement policy program to reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics… “Which always has been a very important thing and we have made a lot of progress and probably still have some room to improve on that.”

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