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"Spending on outpatient prescription drugs in retail outlets in the United States rose 17.1% from 2000 to 2001 (Figure 3), [according to our study].
An increase in the volume of prescriptions in retail outlets--from 2.9 billion to 3.1 billion--accounted for 39% of the $22.5 billion one-year rise in retail spending. Price increases accounted for 37% of the increase, and a shift to the use of more expensive drugs accounted for 24% of the increase.
* The average price for a prescription rose 10.1%, to $49.84 from $45.27. (This includes price increases and the shift to the greater use of more expensive medicines.)
* 50.6% [of] the spending growth occurred in just nine categories of drugs--to treat depression, high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, pain, allergies, ulcers and other gastrointestinal ailments.
* Anti-depressants were the top-selling category, with $12.5 billion in retail sales, up 20.2% [from 2000]. Anti-depressants also were responsible for the largest share (9.4%) of the one-year increase in drug spending, despite the fact that the top-selling drug in that category in …