Spending on Outpatient Prescription Pain Medicines Has Tripled in 10 Years
AHRQ News and Numbers, February 12, 2009
Expenditures for outpatient prescription analgesics—commonly known as painkillers and medicines that treat aches and pains—increased from $4.2 billion in 1996 to $13.2 billion in 2006, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). These medications include narcotic analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and Cox-2 inhibitors among others.
AHRQ also found that for outpatient prescription analgesics from 1996 and 2006:
- The average annual expenditure jumped from $83 to $232 for people who purchased one or more prescription analgesics.
- For each analgesic purchased, the average expenditure rose from $26 to $57.
- The total number of prescription purchases increased from about 164 million to 231 million.
AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid.
For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at Bob.Isquith@ahrq.hhs.gov or call (301) 427-1539.