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Editorial |

Medication Costs Matter

Alan R. Morse, PhD
Arch Ophthalmol. 2009;127(7):929-931. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2009.191.
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Health care cost escalation has been dramatic. In 1960, the first year such data were available, health expenditures were estimated to be $526 million dollars, or 5.1% of the US gross domestic product and $148 per capita, growing to approximately $2.2 trillion, almost $7500 per capita, by 2007. By 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimates that health care spending in the United States will be more than $4.1 trillion, equal to about 19.6% of the gross domestic product and $12 782 per capita. Spending levels for prescription drugs have increased even more rapidly than overall health care costs, growing from $24 billion, which was 5.1% of overall health care costs in 1986, to $217 billion, more than 10.3% of health care costs in 2006.1 The National Association of Chain Drug Stores estimates that the average price of a generic prescription in 2007 was $34.34, 72% lower than the $119.51 cost for the average branded prescription. The cost of the average branded medication increased 11.2% from 2006 to 2007, while the increase for generics was noticeably less at 9.4%. The price of the average prescription to the consumer was $69.91 in 2007.2

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