This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: https://info.ahrq.gov. Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.
Please go to www.ahrq.gov for current information.
AHRQ News and Numbers
Release date: November 9, 2005
In 2003, Medicare
beneficiaries age 65 and older in the U.S civilian noninstitutionalized
population spent a total of $43.8 billion on the top five outpatient
prescription drug classes when ranked by total expenses, according to the
Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
- Spending on these top five drug
classes represents 74 percent of the $59.4 billion total spending on
prescription drugs by elderly Americans on Medicare.
- Cardiovascular drug expenses
totaled $15 billion, making them the top-ranked therapeutic drug class in
terms of overall spending for Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older in
the U.S civilian noninstitutionalized population.
- The four other most costly drug classes prescribed for elderly
Medicare beneficiaries not residing in nursing homes were:
- Statins and
other cholesterol-reducing drugs—$8.8 billion.
- Hormones—$7.8 billion.
- Pain relievers
and other central nervous system drugs—$6.8 billion.
- Drugs for
gastrointestinal problems—$5.5 billion.
- For all age groups, total
outpatient prescription drug expenses for the U.S. civilian
noninstitutionalized population in 2003 was $177.7 billion.
These findings were generated from new data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Quality's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) HC-077A: 2003 Prescribed
Medicines File. The data are available at: http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_stats/download_data_files.jsp.