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Americans are spending more on prescription drugs than in other countries

pic thx to david goehring flickr creative commons [1]

pic thx to david goehring flickr creative commons

Rising costs for prescription drugs are straining budgets around the globe.

The 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes the United States, spent $800 billion on pharmaceuticals in 2013, a new report [2] finds. That’s a full 20 percent of total health spending.

And the United States spends more than most. One telling data point: The median monthly price of cancer treatment for Medicare patients in the country has doubled in the past decade. It now stands at about $10,000 a month — or $120,000 a year.

Here are some other key findings:

“The challenge for the US is that we combine highest number of prescriptions per person and the highest prices, and these combine to make a powerful financial crisis,” Alan Sager, a professor at the School of Public Health at Boston University.