Children's prescription drug use rose "several times faster" than adult use last year, "due in part to swine flu drugs and Type 2 diabetes medications, according to Medco Health Solutions Inc," The Associated Press reports. The "pharmacy benefits manager said a 5 percent increase in prescription drug use for children contributed to a 10.8 percent spending increase last year. In contrast, overall prescription drug use rose 1.3 percent, and drug spending climbed 3.7 percent. Medco released its annual drug trend report Wednesday" (Murphy, 5/19).
Reuters: "More than one in four insured children in the United States and nearly 30 percent of adolescents aged 10 to 19 took at least one prescription medicine to treat a chronic condition in 2009, according to an analysis of pediatric medication use" in the study. "[T]he increases in prescription drug use by children for chronic conditions could fuel significantly higher health care costs as those young patients enter adulthood, Medco said" (Berkot, 5/19).
NPR: "Many children now take medicines more typically prescribed for grown-ups, such as cholesterol-fighters, potent heartburn remedies and diabetes treatments. 'All these adult drugs are popping up in children, which is really disturbing,' Medco's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Epstein said in a media brieing about the report. Childhood obesity is a common thread" (Hensley, 5/19).
The Wall Street Journal: "Medco's report is the latest to point out sharp increases last year in the prices of brand-name drugs. The PBM says those prices rose 9.2%, which company officials said was the most they’ve seen this decade. That’s a lot more than the 3.7% increase in overall drug spending, reflecting the influence of generics, changes in drug utilization and other factors" (Mathews, 5/19).