May 10, 1976

Cost of Drugs-Reply

Author Affiliations

Palo Alto, Calif

JAMA. 1976;235(19):2081. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260450013012

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In Reply.—  Since Dr Webb pointed out the obvious discrepancies in some figures I quoted about the use of psychotherapeutic drugs, I've been unable to track down the source of these figures, at least without an inordinate amount of effort.His point is well taken. Any figures are likely to be crude estimates. I once heard a commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration estimate that the total amount spent for drugs in the United States each year was somewhere between $6.5 and $9 billion (he thought $8 billion to be the best guess) and that the ratio of prescription to over-the-counter drugs might vary from 40% to 60% (he thought 50% was reasonable). Obviously, all figures are suspect, and one must carefully scrutinize one's sources. I appreciate having this lapse called to my attention.