Drug Spending Levels Off, But Not For The Usual Reasons

U.S. spending on prescription drugs grew just barely in 2011, according to the annual report from IMS Health, which keeps track of these things.

But the reason for the barely discernible increase of 0.5 percent, to $320 billion, was not the expected one.

Normally, a slowdown in spending is because the drug industry hasn't produced many breakthrough medications — with their hefty price tags. But that wasn't the case this time around. Last year saw "the introduction of the most new medicines in a decade," according to the report, including "breakthrough therapies ... to treat several types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and cardiovascular conditions."

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Source: NPR