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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.