US Pharmaceutical Prescription Sales Up 12.6% in 1997

Prescription pharmaceuticals sales in the US rose 12.6% in 1997, which reflected a 10.1% rate of real growth and a 2.5% increase in prices. The increase in real growth matches the unprecedented rate achieved in 1996. Prescription pharmaceutical sales reached $81.2 billion last year, with prescription volume rising 4.7% for the year.

New prescription products that were launched in 1997 achieved sales of $3.3 million, a 64% increase over 1996 sales of new prescription products introduced to market that year. Pharmaceutical manufacturers spent 16% more in 1997 than in the previous year on promoting prescription brands. Promotions directed at physicians grew 10% to $4 billion, while direct-to-consumer ad campaigns rose 46% to $917 million. Currently, the US spends $326 per capita on pharmaceutical costs out of a total healthcare cost of $3,875 per capita. Additionally the drug companies are also hitting consumers. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article pharmaceutical spending on consumer ads was close to $1 billion in 1997 compared to about $596 in 1996. So that is 5 BILLIONS DOLLARS every year.

COMMENT: Interesting to note the drug spent $4 billion dollars on marketing to physicians. That is one huge chunk of change. If the AVERAGE person is spending over $300 per year on drugs, there is plenty of motivation to promote the traditional medical paradigm.

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