Prescription Drug Use On the Rise

Even with the threat of serious adverse drug reactions, drug usage has not decreased. In an article in the January 7, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, it was reported that, "Prescription drugs are the fastest-growing component of personal health expenditures amounting to $78.9 billion in 1997." This rate of consumption is growing at an ever-increasing rate. In 1995 spending for prescriptions grew by 10.6 percent, in 1996 it grew by 13.2 percent and in 1997 it continued the climb growing by 14.1 percent.

The Federal Office of Personnel Management blames the increase on several factors. They cite broader insurance coverage of prescription drugs, growth in the number of drugs dispensed, more approvals of more expensive drugs by the Food and Drug Administration, and direct advertising of pharmaceutical products to consumers.