Americans used more health services and spent more on prescription drugs in 2013, reversing a recent trend, though greater use of cheaper generic drugs helped control spending, according to a report issued on Tuesday by a leading healthcare information company.
Spending on medicines rose 3.2 percent in the United States last year to $329.2 billion. While that was far less than the double-digit increases seen in previous decades, it was a rebound from a 1 percent decline in 2012, the report by IMS Health Holdings found.
Among factors driving the increased spending were the cost of new medicines, price increases on some branded drugs, a $10 billion reduced impact of patent expirations compared with 2012, and the first rise in the use of healthcare services in three years, IMS found.
IMS compiles and provides data on prescription drug use and trends for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.
The relatively small spending increase was helped in part by greater use of cheap generic drugs, which edged up to 86 percent of all prescriptions filled in the United States from 84 percent in 2012, despite fewer major new generic drug introductions compared with the impact seen in 2012.