U.S. consumers buy more, pay more for drugs

U.S. patients took more drugs and paid more for drugs last year and, according to a new analysis, that was because they have bad health habits and are depressed. 

While a lot has changed this year, these kinds of reviews can be very interesting and this one from the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience does not disappoint. It shows that prescriptions in 2011 hit 4.02 billion, up slightly from the 3.99 billion the year before, and cost $319.9 billion, compared with $308.6 billion the year before.

The rankings are also interesting, but with patent losses and new arrivals, many of last year's rankings are already sorely out of date. Pfizer's ($PFE) Lipitor, for example is at the top of the sales list, a spot it quickly lost this year after its patent expired.

Still, journal Editor-in-Chief Craig Lindsley points out, the drugs and categories on top tell a lot about U.S. health. The 5 top categories of drugs are oncology, respiratory agents, lipid regulators, anti-diabetics and antipsychotics.

"When one looks at the trends and medications, the United States is suffering from poor lifestyle/diet choices (based on sales of lipid regulators and anti-diabetic medications) and an unprecedented increase in patients taking antidepressants and antipsychotics. Importantly, increases in both sales and prescriptions dispensed are positive signs for a struggling pharmaceutical industry," he says.

- here's the story from ACS Chemical Neuroscience
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