Eliminating out-of-pocket costs for the prescriptions older heart attack survivors are supposed to take might yield a 9-to-1 return on investment.

Researchers with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have published that prediction in a paper published in the latest issue of Health Affairs.

The researchers have based that estimate on figures showing that heart attack victims now pay an average of 32% of the bill for medicines such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and statins.

If eliminating the out-of-pocket costs for the drugs increased the percentage of heart attack survivors who take medications as prescribed to 76%, from 50% today, that could lead 1.1 fewer deaths, 13 fewer nonfatal heart attacks and 6.6 fewer readmissions for congestive heart failure per 100 heart survivors, the researchers estimate.

The cost of the drugs would average $644 per affected heart attack survivor, but the projected health improvements could save an average of $5,974 per patient, the researchers estimate.