Annual Growth in Rx Drug Spending Slows, CDC Report Says
Even though more U.S. residents regularly take at least one prescription drug, the overall annual growth in spending on such medications has declined sharply, from 14.7% in 2001 to 2.9% in 2011, according to a new report from CDC, HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Thompson, HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/14).
The annual report, from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, also offers snapshots of other health trends and measures, including obesity, mental health and tobacco use (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 5/14).
According to the report's examination of prescription drug use and spending trends, the rate of U.S. residents who regularly took prescription drugs increased from 39% between 1988 and 1994 to 48% between 2007 and 2010. The report also found that prescription use increased with age. About one out of every four children surveyed took at least one prescription drug during the prior month, while roughly nine in 10 adults age 65 and older were on at least one such medication.
The report also found:
- One in five U.S. residents reported taking at least five prescription drugs in the prior month, raising some concerns about potential drug interactions;
- Residents who reported taking five or more drugs in the previous month tended to skew older, with only about 10.8% of them between the ages of 18 and 44, 41.7% of them between the ages of 45 and 64 and 47.5% of them age 65 and older;
- The most widely used medications among U.S. adults were those meant for cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease (HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/14);
- Overdose deaths related to prescription narcotics tripled, from 1.9 deaths per every 100,000 residents age 15 and older in 1999-2000 to 6.6 deaths in 2009-2010; and
- A 400% increase in antidepressant use among U.S. adults, from 2.4% between 1988 and 1994 to 10.8% between 2007 and 2010 (CQ HealthBeat, 5/14).
Meanwhile the report found that antibiotic prescriptions for cold symptoms during routine medical visits declined by 39% between 1995-1996 and 2009-2010, suggesting that CDC's efforts to combat development of drug-resistant bacteria had some success (HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.