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Health Agencies Update
January 27, 2010

Drug Costs Skyrocket

JAMA. 2010;303(4):322. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1981

The average cost per prescription for US individuals aged 18 to 44 years doubled from $79 to $161 (with adjustments for inflation) between 1996 and 2006, according to a report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The proportion of health care costs spent on prescription drugs in this age group also increased from 10% to 18% during the same period, according to data from the household component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st254/stat254.pdf). This longitudinal survey involved interviews with a nationally representative sample of more than 21 000 individuals in 1996 and more than 32 000 in 2006.

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