TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Spending on prescription medicines in the U.S. fell for the first time in more than five decades last year.
A new report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics states the total spent was down 3.5 percent to $325.8 billion last year.
That's partly because patients benefited from a surge of new, inexpensive generic versions of widely used drugs for chronic conditions, such as Lipitor for high cholesterol.
But there's a downside: Another reason for the decline was that cash-strapped consumers continued to cut back on or delay needed doctor visits, medicines and other treatments. Some waited to seek care until they were very sick, leading to a jump in patients admitted to hospitals after coming to the emergency department.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.