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What Are The Most Popular, And Most Expensive, Drugs In America?

The top 10 prescribed drugs in the U.S. for 2010 in order of prescriptions written are:

  • Hydrocodone (combined with acetaminophen) — 131.2 million prescriptions
  • Generic Zocor (simvastatin), a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — 94.1 million prescriptions
  • Lisinopril (brand names include Prinivil and Zestril), a blood pressure drug — 87.4 million prescriptions
  • Generic Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium), synthetic thyroid hormone — 70.5 million prescriptions
  • Generic Norvasc (amlodipine besylate), an angina/blood pressure drug — 57.2 million prescriptions
  • Generic Prilosec (omeprazole), an antacid drug — 53.4 million prescriptions (does not include over-the-counter sales)
  • Azithromycin (brand names include Z-Pak and Zithromax), an antibiotic — 52.6 million prescriptions
  • Amoxicillin (various brand names), an antibiotic — 52.3 million prescriptions
  • Generic Glucophage (metformin), a diabetes drug — 48.3 million prescriptions
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (various brand names), a water pill used to lower blood pressure — 47.8 million prescriptions.

Notice that most of these are generic so they aren’t the ones that make the most money for Big Pharma.  Those drugs are not offered in generic and they brought in  n $307 billion  in 2010.  What was number one?  Drumroll……..

Lipitor, a cholesterol lowering statin.

In case you wondered who is paying for these drugs…Commercial insurance helped pay for 63% of all prescriptions.  Medicare Part D (Federal government) paid for 22% of prescriptions.  The average co-payment for a prescription was $10.73.  The average co-payment for a branded drug was $22.73.

If you are paying for prescriptions, make sure you ask your physician if it is available in generic.  It can save you a lot of $$.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Generic Drugs: Not So Cheap

I received the following e-mail from a patient (paraphrased):

Dear Dr. Fisher,

Thank you for trying to switch me from lisinopril to generic losartan (Cozaar) to help me with the irritating cough that has been nagging me since I was placed on lisinopril. I did not pick up my prescription, though. At nearly $200 for a three-month supply, I’ve decided to live with the cough, since the same amount of lisinopril costs me about $12.

-Ms. Patient

Interesting how the generic drug market for some drugs only marginally discounts prices. Since the companies that make generics did not have to absorb research and development costs, how do they justify the exorbitant prices? Simple: The middlemen still have to get theirs.

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

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