What Drug Did Doctors Prescribe Most Last Year?

Generics are king.

Thats the message from the latest report on U.S. medication use by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, which found that non-branded drugs now make up 78% of all prescriptions dispensed.

There are only three name-brand drugs on the list of the most commonly prescribed medications: Pfizers Lipitor, at #12; Sanofi-Aventiss and Bristol-Myers Squibbs Plavix, at #23 and Mercks Singulair, at #25. And all three are due to lose patent protection this year or next. (The report also says that within 6 months of patent loss, generics take 80% of prescription share.)

The years runaway favorite drug was, once again, hydrocodone/acetaminophen, the generic form of the painkiller Vicodin. More than 131 million prescriptions were dispensed last year, about 37 million more than the second-most popular drug, the generic anti-cholesterol drug simvastatin.

The list of top-selling drugs by dollars, of course, is made up entirely of brand-name drugs, with Lipitor, AstraZenecas Nexium, Plavix, GlaxoSmithKlines Advair Diskus and Bristol-Myerss and Otsuka Americas Abilify as Nos. 1-5. (Forbess Matthew Herper wonders how Nexium, the poster child for me-too medicines, managed to generate $6.3 billion in sales.)

Overall, spending on medicines rose to more than $307 billion, up just 2.3%. Heres the Dow Jones Newswires story about the report.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, April 16th, 2011 at 8:38 pm and is filed under Health Care. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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