Study: opioid prescriptions down 17 percent in 2018
U.S. opioid prescriptions plunged 17 percent last year, according to new estimates published Thursday by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, the single largest drop ever for the pain medication as scrutiny intensifies on physicians, distributors and manufacturers.
Opioid prescriptions had declined 12 percent in 2017, with major manufacturers including Stamford-based Purdue Pharma.
Last year’s drop came amid a 2.7 percent increase in prescriptions dispensed by physicians, contributing to an overall 4.5 percent increase in U.S. medicine spending last year to $344 billion as calculated by IQVIA, which has dual headquarters in Danbury and Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Out-of-pocket spending by patients rose $2 billion last year to $61 billion.
IQVIA determined a 5.5 percent increase in pricing for brand-name drugs not subject to generic competition, with overall prices up 0.3 percent on average.
Anti-hypertensive drugs registered the largest increase of any category of drug last year, with an additional 48 million prescriptions to help lower blood pressure in patients.
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman