Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

U.S. Pharmaceutical Sales: The Top 10 List

Misc drugsThe top moneymakers for the U.S. pharmaceutical industry might surprise you. These aren’t necessarily the most prescribed medications (although some of them are), but they’re the top products in terms of sales in 2009. The revenues were in billions:

1. Lipitor – used for high cholesterol: $7.5 billion

2. Nexium – a proton pump inhibitor for GERD: $6.3 billion

3. Plavix – a blood thinner: $5.6 billion

4. Advair Diskus – used for asthma and COPD: $4.7 billion

5. Seroquel – used for bipolar disorders: $4.2 billion

6. Abilify – used for bipolar disorders: $4.0 billion

7. Singulair – for asthma and allergies: $3.7 billion

8. Actos – for diabetes: $3.4 billion

9. Embrel – injectible for rheumatoid arthritis: $3.3 billion

10. Epogen – injectible for low red blood cells: $3.2 billion

All of these medications are used on a chronic basis. One month of Advair inhaler can cost $150 to $200. Lipitor can cost between $2.00 to $4.00 a day, even though there is no proven advantage over a generic that costs 25¢ a day. Embrel is for severe rheumatoid arthritis, but at a cost of $1,500/month how many seniors could afford it without Medicare Part D coverage?

Amgen has a monopoly with Epogen, used for patients on dialysis and other anemias. The margin is believed to exceed 85 percent. The pharmaceutical lobby is second to none.

I’m not against pharmaceutical medications — I take them, I prescribe them, and I believe we have enhanced life because of new discoveries. But with healthcare reform it’s time to look at all costs, and there should be no sacred cows.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »