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New MEPS statistical brief is available online

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released a new statistical brief that presents data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) on expenditures for prescription medicines. These data show that U.S. spending for prescribed medicines rose sharply from 1997 through 2000. Expenses for outpatient prescribed medicines increased from $72.3 billion in 1997 to $103 billion in 2000, according to the new MEPS data. Highlights from the data include:

  • Outpatient prescription medications accounted for a greater proportion of total medical expenses, increasing from approximately 13 percent of total expenses in 1997 to more than 16 percent in 2000.
  • Average out-of-pocket expenses for people age 65 and older were more than three times as high as they were for people under age 65 every year from 1997 through 2000.
  • Between 1997 and 2000, the average expense for people age 65 and older with any prescription medicine expense increased about 35 percent, from $819 to $1,102. For people under 65, the amount increased about 40 percent, from $347 to $485.
  • Each year from 1997 through 2000, the average number of prescriptions for people age 65 and older was more than twice the average number of prescriptions for those under age 65.

Details are in Statistical Brief 21: Trends in Outpatient Prescription Drug Utilization and Expenditures: 1997-2000.

Select to access the statistical brief (PDF Help).

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