Short-cycle medication dispensing in long-term care facilities will increase costs for the Medicare program, according to a new report from a pharmacy group.

The costs associated with unused Medicare Part D-covered prescription drugs, dispensed in skilled nursing facilities, represents about 2.9% of total dispensed value of all prescriptions, or $125 million annually, according “Measurement of Unused Medication in Medicare D Residents in Skilled Nursing Facilities.” This study was conducted by Managed Solutions LLC and published in The Consultant Pharmacist, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will require SNFs to report unused drugs to Medicare Part D sponsors starting Jan. 1, 2013. Long-term care pharmacists have pushed back on the rule, saying that moving from traditional 30-day fills to shorter fill times will increase costs, not provide savings. 

To read the study can be read click here.