BIG SAVINGS: If doctors and patients used prescription drugs more wisely, they could save the U.S. health care system at least $213 billion a year, by reducing medication overuse, underuse and other flaws in care that cause complications and longer, more-expensive treatments, researchers conclude.

BIG SAVINGS: If doctors and patients used prescription drugs more wisely, they could save the U.S. health care system at least $213 billion a year, by reducing medication overuse, underuse and other flaws in care that cause complications and longer, more-expensive treatments, researchers conclude.

THE STUDY: The new findings by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics improve on numerous prior efforts to quantify the dollars wasted on health care.

THE DATA: The institute, part of data analysis and consulting firm IMS Health, used its proprietary data on prescriptions written by doctors many of which patients never fill plus other information to produce a current, more reliable estimate of avoidable costs solely related to medication use.