Every year, significant amounts of expensive injectable or infused drugs, distributed in single-dose vials, are discarded in the United States. This is due in part to the increasing number of drugs that are administered in variable doses based on a patient’s weight or body surface area. Sharing medication from single-dose vials among patients is generally prohibited or severely restricted; accordingly, the unused drug amount will typically be discarded. Many of the weight-based drugs in single-dose vials are expensive and are paid for by federal health care programs (particularly Medicare Part B), private health plans, and patients who have cost-sharing obligations.
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Shortliffe EH, Lyman GH, Amankwah FK. Medications in Single-Dose Vials and Implications of Discarded Injectable Drugs: A National Academies Report. JAMA. Published online February 25, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.2414
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