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July 13, 2009

Medication Costs Matter

Arch Ophthalmol. 2009;127(7):929-931. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2009.191

Drugs don't work in patients who don't take them. C. Everett Koop

Health care cost escalation has been dramatic. In 1960, the first year such data were available, health expenditures were estimated to be $526 million dollars, or 5.1% of the US gross domestic product and $148 per capita, growing to approximately $2.2 trillion, almost $7500 per capita, by 2007. By 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that health care spending in the United States will be more than $4.1 trillion, equal to about 19.6% of the gross domestic product and $12 782 per capita. Spending levels for prescription drugs have increased even more rapidly than overall health care costs, growing from $24 billion, which was 5.1% of overall health care costs in 1986, to $217 billion, more than 10.3% of health care costs in 2006.1 The National Association of Chain Drug Stores estimates that the average price of a generic prescription in 2007 was $34.34, 72% lower than the $119.51 cost for the average branded prescription. The cost of the average branded medication increased 11.2% from 2006 to 2007, while the increase for generics was noticeably less at 9.4%. The price of the average prescription to the consumer was $69.91 in 2007.2

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