Excess Health Care Costs of Opioid Abuse Begin Well Before Initial Diagnosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jaren Howard, PharmD, BCPS Associate Director, Medical Affairs Strategic Research Purdue Pharma L.P.

Dr. Jared Howard

Jaren Howard, PharmD, BCPS
Associate Director,
Medical Affairs Strategic Research
Purdue Pharma L.P.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Opioid abuse, dependence, overdose, and poisoning (referred to collectively for the purposes of this study as “abuse”) represent a costly public health concern to payers. Excess annual costs for a diagnosed opioid abuser range from $10,000-$20,000 per patient. Current literature does not sufficiently address the drivers of excess costs in terms of medical conditions driving costs or places of service.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Study findings:
• Similar to previous estimates, commercially insured patients diagnosed with opioid abuse were found to incur annual excess healthcare costs of $11,470 compared to matched non-abuser controls during the 12 months surrounding an initial abuse episode.
• Excess costs began increasing well before the initial diagnosis, with non-opioid drug abuse treatment comprising a substantial proportion.
• Following the incident opioid abuse diagnosis, excess costs were largely driven by the costs of treating opioid abuse and non-opioid drug abuse.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our findings highlight the complex nature of opioid abuse, which often occurs in the context of other substance abuse.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further research exploring abuse at a more granular level may provide insights into additional characteristics associated with substance abuse. This can help educate both payers and providers on the most efficient way to treat abusers, with the possibility of averting abuse and its associated costs to the healthcare system.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: I would like to acknowledge my coauthors for their contribution to this important body of work.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Pain Week 2016

 Howard J, et al “The economic burden of opioid abuse and its drivers: Evidence from a payer perspective” Pain Week 2016; Abstract 60.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on September 21, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD