More Americans Make Use of Prescription Drugs

The number of Americans buying prescription drugs to treat digestive conditions climbed over 50 percent, rising from 18.1 million to 29 million people between 1997 and 2007, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Total annual spending for these drugs increased from seven billion U.S. dollars to nearly 19 billion U.S. dollars from 1997 to 2007.
Other findings include:

  • The proportion of children ages 17 and younger who had at least one prescription drug for a digestive condition purchased rose from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. This trend held true for seniors - increasing from 18.6 percent to 26.6 percent – as well as for 18 to 64 year olds - rising from 6.4 percent to 8.9 percent.

  • The total number of prescription drug purchases for digestive conditions more than doubled - rising from 77.8 million to 158.4 million.

  • The average expense per digestive prescription drug purchase increased 33 percent - from 90 U.S. dollars to 120 U.S. dollars.

The estimates do not include over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs administered in inpatient, physician's office or clinic settings. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid.

MEDICA.de; Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)