Trends in Outpatient Prescription Drug Use and Related Costs in the US: 1998-2003
Diane K. Wysowski
Laura A. Governale
Objective: To present a brief synopsis of trends in the number of prescriptions and retail costs of outpatient drugs dispensed in the US between 1998 and 2003. Methods: Data were extracted from IMS Health, the National Prescription Audit Plus(TM) and the National Disease and Therapeutic Index(TM) databases. Results: In 1998, 2.7 billion outpatient prescriptions were dispensed versus 3.6 billion in 2003. This equates to a 33.3% increase over the 6-year period. Of the top 20 most dispensed drugs by volume, 40% were launched in the 1990s or 2000s. Retail costs for the total market of dispensed outpatient prescription drugs were $US96.1 billion in 1998 and $US196 billion in 2003, a 104% increase. Of the top 20 most dispensed drugs by retail cost, all were tradename drugs and were launched in the 1990s or 2000s. Conclusions: These data indicate a large increase in the US over a short time period in dispensed outpatient prescriptions and their associated retail costs.
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