Therapeutic substitution is a practice that replaces chemically different compounds within the same class of medications for one another. A new study examined how using this practice could save money on prescription drug costs.

Researchers from the Ohio State University reviewed records of more than 107,000 patients between 2010 and 2012 and looked at their prescription drug use and estimated how much money could be saved using therapeutic substitution.

The authors report that an extra $73 billion was spent between 2010 and 2012 on brand name medications. Therapeutic substitution could help lower those costs. Although therapeutic substitution is somewhat controversial, the authors conclude that if implemented in a way that does not negatively affect quality of care, this is a useful approach to decreasing healthcare costs.

Click here to read the study in JAMA, Journal of the American Medical Association.