The rising cost of prescription drug
therapya key factor in overall health
care inflation for the past decadehas
begun to moderate.
New figures issued by the government's
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) indicate that total
US spending on prescription medicines
rose 10.7% in 2003, a significantly
slower rate of increase than the 14.9%
jump that occurred in 2002.
Health care analysts contend that
this moderating trend has continued
into 2005, thanks to a variety of factors
including increased consumer acceptance
of generic drugs, cost-containment
efforts by pharmacy benefit
managers, and the withdrawal of several
high-priced prescription painkillers
such as Vioxx and Bextra.
Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.