Saturday, May 19, 2007

Psychotherapeutic Drug Spending Surged From 1997 to 2004

Don't ever think otherwise -- this is all about the money. 
Psychotherapeutic Drug Spending Surged From 1997 to 2004

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Medscape Business of Medicine.  2007; ©2007 Medscape
Posted 05/07/2007

The information in this article is from HCUPnet, an online query system that provides access to health statistics and information on hospital stays from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This project includes the largest set of publicly available databases on all patients in the United States, regardless of type of insurance or whether the patients had insurance. To access HCUPnet, go to

Spending on prescription drugs to treat depression, anxiety, pain, schizophrenia, and other conditions climbed from $7.9 billion in 1997 to $20 billion in 2004 -- over a 150% increase, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

  • The sharpest increase was for antipsychotic agents, medications used to manage schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychoses. They saw an increase from $1.3 billion to $4.1 billion from 1997 to 2004.

  • Spending for central nervous system stimulants to treat pain and control seizures nearly tripled over the same time period, increasing from $0.6 billion to $1.7 billion.

  • Spending on antidepressants more than doubled from 1997 to 2004, increasing from $5.1 billion to $12.1 billion, as did expenditures for anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics for anxiety and sleep disorders. Spending for these drugs rose from $.9 billion to $2.1 billion.

  • During the same time period, overall prescriptions for psychotherapeutic drugs increased from 141.9 million to 244.3 million; the number of people prescribed at least one such drug rose from 21 million to 32.6 million; and the average price per purchase increased from $55.80 to $82.00.

AHRQ, a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, works to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of healthcare in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers come from the Agency's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a highly detailed source of information on the health services that Americans use, how frequently they use them, the cost of these services, and how they are paid.

For more information on this AHRQ News and Numbers, see Trends in the Use and Expenditures for the Therapeutic Class Prescribed Psychotherapeutic Agents and All Subclasses, 1997 and 2004.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville, Maryland;



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