In the year 2010 the total spending on prescription medication rose by a massive 2.3% in the United States which translates to $307 billion in sales as revealed by a study released by the Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Though this is a massive increase, the study actually goes on to show that the increase was less than that of 2009 – a year in which the spending increased by 5.1%. In 2010 the volumes of medicines consumed realized a 0.5% growth rate.
Here is what Michael Kleinrock, director of the research and development at IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics had to say:
“Last year, we saw the convergence of key dynamics leading to diminished growth in drug spending, which included the greater use of generics, loss of patent protection for major branded products, slower demand and less spending on new therapies,” he went on to say “Moreover, fewer patients visited physician offices and initiated new chronic therapy treatments last year, likely the result of the slower economy.”
Moreover, we have seen the spending on these prescription medications nearly double over the past decade; it is interesting to note the bigger picture. The year 2001 saw the spending hit $172 billion and 10 years down the line, 2010 spending has increased to $307 billion.
- Further details of the study went on to reveal that the per capita spending of $898 in 2010 was a $6 increase from the 2009 spending.
- During the year 2009, the patient doctor visits as well as new therapies started to go down. The study showed that these visits decreased by a massive 4.2% in 2010.
- The price of medication went down by 1% as a result of the changes in price and the subsequent mix of generics and the already existing branded products. Additionally, spending on these brands then decreased by 7% in 2010 whilst on the other hand, spending on the branded and some of the unbranded generics rose by a massive 4.5% and 21.7%. This has seen these generics account for 78% of all retail prescriptions dispensed.
What the future holds is definitely hanging in the balance for the Pharmaceutical companies, though there is no question that even with the rise in prescription drug sales, we are seeing an influx of individuals turning to natural solutions as well.
The IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, supported by global IMS Health, provides health care studies and analysis.