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How drug companies make you buy more medicine than you need

It all adds to America’s $765 billion in wasted spending on health care.

If you’ve ever put in an eyedrop, some of it has almost certainly spilled onto your eyelid or cheek. You probably thought you were doing it wrong, but according to ProPublica’s latest investigation, these drops — and many other liquid medications — are wasted by design.

The typical drop, whether in pricey glaucoma drugs or in an inexpensive bottle of Visine, is simply too large for the human eye to hold. And it’s one part of a much bigger problem: The US health care industry wastes $765 billion per year. From eyedrops to expensive vials of cancer drugs that are often much larger than what’s needed for an individual patient, drug companies are delivering more medication than we can possibly use. And patients are paying the price.

Wasted medicine is one of the reasons American health care is the most expensive in the world. Often, large swaths of the medical and pharmaceutical communities know about this waste and the solutions to it, but do nothing.

Watch the video above to see how the health care industry prioritizes profits over patients. This is the first installment in Vox’s collaboration with ProPublica. For their in-depth reporting, check out the full story here.

You can find this video and all of Vox's videos on YouTube. Subscribe and stay tuned for more from our ProPublica partnership coming soon.

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