U.S. health spending hits $2.2 trillion in 2007

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans spent $2.2 trillion on healthcare in 2007, or $7,421 per person, according to a U.S. government report released on Tuesday.

The 6.1 percent rate of growth over 2006 was the lowest since 1998, mostly because growth in spending on drugs slowed, the team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found.

Cheaper generic drugs and worries about drug safety helped slow spending growth but the numbers kept the United States far ahead of all other countries on health spending.

Health spending represented 16.2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, up slightly from 16 percent in 2006, the researchers reported in the journal Health Affairs.

“Slower spending growth for prescription drugs was one of the major factors driving down overall healthcare spending growth in 2007,” Micah Hartman, a statistician at CMS who worked on the report, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

“In 2007, retail prescription drug spending increased 4.9 percent to $227.5 billion; this was a deceleration from 8.6 percent growth in 2006,” the CMS team wrote.

Some of this loss hit drug companies.

Sanofi sleeping pill Ambien, Coreg, a heart failure drug made GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer Inc’s blood pressure drug Norvasc all lost patent exclusivity in 2006, making room for less expensive generics.

Generic drugs, which cost 30 percent to 80 percent less than brand names, accounted for 67 percent of the market, up from 63 percent in 2006.

SAFETY CONCERNS

“Increased safety concerns for certain prescription drugs in 2007 also likely influenced the drug spending trend, as the Food and Drug Administration issued 68 ‘black box’ warnings, compared to 58 in 2006 and 21 in 2003,” they wrote.

Hartman said his team presumed there must be a link between these black box warnings — the strongest type of safety warning for prescription drugs — and the decline in drug use.

Medicare, the federal health insurance plan for the elderly, spent 19 percent more on retail prescription drugs.

In 2007, 31 percent of healthcare dollars went to hospitals, 21 percent to physicians and clinics, 10 percent to drugs and 25 percent to other services such as dental and home health services.

Private insurance paid for 35 percent of this, Medicare footed the bill for 19 percent, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program paid for 15 percent, and 12 percent came from out of pocket. Other sources included Department of Defense spending and philanthropy.  Continued…

Source

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Related Posts:


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Spending on the Medicaid health program for the poor is on a path to grow at a much higher rate than the overall U.S. economy in the next 10 years, officials said on Friday. Spending on Medicaid benefits will increase 7.3 percent from 2007 to 2008, reaching $339 billion, and will expand at

Full Post: Report says Medicaid spending “unsustainable”
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Americans spent about 40 percent more out of their own pockets for healthcare over the past decade, according to a report in the latest issue of the health policy journal Health Affairs. An increase in chronic conditions, especially diabetes and high blood pressure — not just among the “oldest old”

Full Post: Americans spending more on healthcare: report
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Walgreen Co said on Wednesday that it is marketing a combination of its clinics, pharmacies and other services to businesses looking to save on employee healthcare costs. Walgreen, best known for the thousands of drugstores it has across the United States, also runs hundreds of health clinics in stores and at corporate offices. The

Full Post: Walgreen offers health program for businesses
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans got a hand in the difficult and often emotional task of choosing a nursing home on Thursday, with the first-ever federal government website that rates the facilities for quality. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which oversees the Medicare and Medicaid insurance programs that often pay for nursing home care, said

Full Post: Government website rates nursing homes
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - The Netherlands topped on Thursday a European survey ranking healthcare systems according to consumer value, despite having one of the continent’s lowest levels of spending on medicines. Latvia came bottom of the 2008 Euro Health Consumer Index compiled by private Swedish company Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP), which assesses a range of

Full Post: Dutch top for healthcare despite low drug spending

Site Navigation

Most Read

Search