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Charts of U.S. Spending on Prescription Drugs

SIDEBAR: Consumer Spending on Drugs Is Increasing
Spending on:
1997 amount
2004 amount
% increase
Outpatient prescription drug
$72 billion
$191 billion
165
Prescription drugs for those over 65 (average annual) $819
$1914
134
Prescription drugs for those under 65 (average annual) $347
$838
141
Out-of-pocket prescription drugs for those over 65 (average annual) $483
$1027
113
Out-of-pocket prescription drugs for those under 65 (average annual) $143
$304
113
Average annual # of prescription purchases:
1997 amount
2004 amount
% increase
nationwide 1.9 billion 2.9 billion 53
among drug purchasers over 65 21.9 30.8 41
among drug purchasers under 65 8.8 12.6 43
SIDEBAR: Top spending by U.S. adults on prescription drugs by class of drugs in 2005
Type of Drug
Amount Spent Nationwide
Metabolic: to lower blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, etc. $36 billion
Cardiovascular: to reduce high blood pressure and treat heart conditions $33 billion
Central nervous system: including pain killers, sleep aids and to treat ADD $26 billion
Antidepressants and antipsychotics $17 billion
Gastrointestinal: including antacids and laxatives $15 billion
TOTAL
$127 billion (out of total $199 billion spent on all outpatient prescriptions)