A real-world analysis of cancer drug wastage due to oversized vials

Ori Liran, Judit Prus, Noa Gordon, Vered Almog, Tsipora Gruenewald, Daniel A. Goldstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: A recent theoretical economic model suggested that oversized vials of cancer drugs lead to $1.8 billion of drug wastage annually in the United States. It is currently unknown how precisely this theoretical model is consistent with the real world. We performed a real-world analysis to assess the economic impact of drug wastage. Methods: We performed a systematic examination of the usage and wastage of all intravenous cancer drugs in the cancer center of a large tertiary care hospital in Israel. During a period of 1 month, we collected usage and wastage data from the hospital's pharmacy dispensing computerized logs. We calculated the local financial impact using Israeli drug prices list (June 2016) from the ministry of health. We performed an additional analysis using discounted U.S. prices, using the October 2016 Average Sales Prices from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. Results: Seventy-four injectable anticancer drugs were used during March 2016, and 68 Israeli drug prices were available. The total amount spent on wasted drugs in 1 month was then extrapolated to calculate the annual spending, which was $141,196 per month (5.11% of the total cost) or $1,694,352 per year. Using U.S. prices, the total wastage would be $2,208,876 annually. The 5 drugs that led to the highest expenditure on wastage were bortezomib, trastuzumab, azacytidine, pemetrexed and carfilzomib. There was no wastage of 24 of the 74 drugs. Conclusion: This real-world study demonstrates the economic impact of wastage of anticancer drugs on health systems. To decrease wastage, particular attention should be paid to drugs with high usage rates, high cost, and oversized vials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-646
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association : JAPhA
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018


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