Prescription Drug Spending Up In 2009
Prescription drug spending in the United States rose 5.1 percent in 2009, acording to a new report from IMS Health., a data collection company.
The Wall Street Journal: Though the rise is higher than the previous two years, "the data pointed to concerns for branded drug makers. The number of prescriptions dispensed for generic drugs rose 5.9% last year, but those for branded drugs declined 7.6%. Of all prescriptions dispensed, 75% were for generics last year, up from 57% five years earlier.
Making matters difficult for brand-name drug makers, several of their top-selling medicines, including Pfizer Inc.'s popular Lipitor, are scheduled to lose patent protection over the next few years" (Rockoff, 4/2).
The Associated Press/Forbes: "IMS Health attributed the turnaround to increased filling of prescriptions, which grew at a 2.1% pace compared to 1% in 2008." The increase comes despite the recession. "In response to the economic downturn, drugmakers have been offering co-pay coupons and other programs to help patients pay for their prescriptions. Those programs combined with offers on low-cost generic drugs from Wal-Mart, Walgreens and other retailers to drive sales. Also boosting sales were pharmaceutical price increases 3% to 4%, roughly even with historical hikes" (Perrone, 4/1).
BusinessWeek: "Higher sales of antidepressants including Eli Lilly & Co.'s Cymbalta and tumor-fighting therapies such as Roche Holding AG's Avastin helped bolster pharmaceutical revenue to $300.3 billion. Antipsychotics, such as Lilly's Zyprexa and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Abilify, remained the top-selling class of medicines" (Tirrell, 4/1).