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Drug safety concerns help dampen consumer demand

January 6, 2009 by  

People are spending less on prescription medicationsWorries about the safety of prescription drugs have played a part in reducing customer demand for medications, according to a new report.

Micah Hartman, lead author of the federal report, told USA Today that people may be backing away from purchasing prescription medications as the FDA issues more safety warnings.

In 2007, the FDA issued at least 68 warnings on drugs, including one high-profile warning that diabetes pill Avandia had been linked to a higher risk of heart attacks. This represents a large increase from the 21 warnings issued in 2003.

According to the report, the growth in overall healthcare spending showed the smallest rise in more than 40 years in 2007. Most of this slowdown could be attributed to people spending less on prescription drugs.

Another factor affecting healthcare costs is an increased use of generic drugs, which are generally less expensive.

The report found that 67 percent of all prescriptions filled in 2007 were generics, an increase from 63 percent in 2006.

Meanwhile, last month’s research from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the use of natural supplements is increasing.
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