States Report ‘Wide Variation’ in 2001 Prescription Drug Spending, Study Finds
Although the average price of pharmaceuticals increased nationwide last year, there was a "wide variation" in state-by-state spending on prescription drugs, according to a study released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The study, based on data provided by Verispan Scott-Levin, a pharmaceutical market research company, found that spending on prescription drugs nationwide increased 17.3% last year, ranging from a 12% rise in Maine to a 25.2% increase in Alaska. Retail prescription drug sales nationwide totaled $154 billion, and five states -- California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas -- accounted for more than 33% of the sales, the study found. The study also found that the average prescription cost $50 nationwide, ranging from less than $44 in Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota and West Virginia to more than $58 in Alaska, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and New York (KFF release, 6/19). According to the study, the increase in the number of treatments for chronic conditions on the market contributed to the rise in nationwide prescription drug spending in 2001. In addition, the study found that increased direct-to-consumer advertising sponsored by pharmaceutical companies also contributed to the increase (Howatt, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 6/20). The study is available online.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.