Prescription drug spending trends in the United States: looking beyond the turning point.
Annual growth in real prescription drug spending averaged 9.9 percent during 1997-2007 but has slowed since 2003, falling to 1.6 percent in 2007. More patent expirations, increased generic penetration, and reduced new product innovations have contributed to this turning point. We document trends and identify underlying components: declines in the role of blockbuster drugs, increased importance of biologics and vaccines relative to traditional pharmaceuticals, and a changing medication mix away from those prescribed principally by primary care physicians toward those mostly prescribed by specialists. We conclude with policy implications.
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