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Health Agencies Update
March 25, 2009

Pain Pill Spending

JAMA. 2009;301(12):1217. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.372

US residents have more than tripled their spending on prescription pain killers for outpatient use over the past decade, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Based on data from the agency's Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, which collect responses from a nationally representative sample of more than 20 000 US residents, spending by individuals on outpatient prescription analgesics rose from $4.2 billion in 1996 to $13.2 billion in 2006 (http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st235/stat235.pdf). These included expenditures on opioid narcotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and cyclooxygenase 2 inhibitors.

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