Rx Spending Slows

In the USA Today, there was an article this morning about the slowing growth in the prescription drug market.  Growth was only 4.9% (in dollars) which is the lowest since 1963.  A lot of this is due to the increasing use of generics along with the trend toward $4 generics or even free generics.  They attribute some of it to safety warning which may have decreased utilization and certainly there have been multiple surveys talking about the dampening effect of the economy.

The article states that health care services overall rose 6.1% to $2.2 trillion in 2007 (or $7,421 per person) according to CMS’s Office of the Actuary.

They also state that generics now make up 67% of all prescriptions filled and that drug prices grew only 1.4% which was down from the 3.5% in 2006.

I was surprised by the statistic that the FDA issued at least 68 safety warnings in 2007.

In general, I didn’t agree with their observation that lower prescription drug cost increases contributed to holding overall health care spending increases down since prescriptions only make up about 10% of total healthcare costs.

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