Yearly Drug Costs Almost $700 Higher for Obese Patients

Obese patients spend twice as much on prescription drugs as those who are overweight, and nearly four times what normal-weight patients spend, according to findings of a new study. The study involved 328 men, average age 47, undergoing comprehensive physical examinations. They were grouped into the customary categories of normal weight, with Body Mass Index (BMI) <25 kg/m2, overweight (25<BMI30). Patients with known cardiovascular disease or serious non-cardiac disease were not included.

From Mayo Clinic:

Mayo Clinic Study: Yearly Prescription Costs Almost $700 Higher for Obese Patients

Obese patients spend twice as much on prescription drugs as those who are overweight, and nearly four times what normal-weight patients spend, according to findings of a Mayo Clinic study presented today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2004 in New Orleans, La. To see a video describing this study, click here.

The Mayo Clinic study involved 328 men, average age 47, undergoing comprehensive physical examinations. They were grouped into the customary categories of normal weight, with Body Mass Index (BMI) <25 kg/m2, overweight (25<BMI30). Patients with known cardiovascular disease or serious non-cardiac disease were not included. Calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index) at MayoClinic.com. (Opens in a new window.)

Prescription drug costs for the 52 normal weight individuals averaged $22.84 per month, while the 172 who were overweight spent an average of $39.27. The monthly pharmacy costs for the 104 obese patients averaged $80.31. All major heart risk factors except smoking increased progressively with weight class, as did the prevalence of six other medical conditions, including low back pain/degenerative joint disease, erectile dysfunction, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, depression and gout.

”Costs of illness attributable to overweight and obesity are estimated to be over $130 billion per year,” says Mayo Clinic cardiovascular rehabilitation specialist Thomas Allison, Ph.D., the lead author of the study. ”But like the United States government’s budget deficit, that’s such a huge number spread over so many people, it makes it difficult for the average person to grasp. Our study provides just a snapshot of one very tangible way in which obesity increases the economic burden for individuals and those who pay for their medical care. For pharmacy costs alone, that extra burden is nearly $700 per year as compared to normal weight individuals.”

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