2012 US medicine sales show shifts by drug type

Expensive new drugs, surge of cheap generics shift US spending on medicines by drug category

Associated Press

U.S. sales levels for many widely used drug categories shifted significantly in 2012, with sales in some classes declining sharply due to an infusion of cheaper new generic pills. Other categories grew, mainly with the introduction of new, generally expensive medicines.

Here's a look at U.S. sales of the top-grossing drug categories in 2012:

DRUG CATEGORY  2012 spending   Change from 2011

Cancer medicines  $25.9 billion   Up 7.8 percent

Mental illness  $23.5 billion   Down 21 percent

Respiratory disorders  $22.1 billion   Up 1.9 percent

Diabetes medicines  $22 billion     Up 7.1 percent

Painkillers  $18.2 billion   Up 1.6 percent

Cholesterol/lipid drugs  $16.9 billion   Down 20.6 percent

Immune disorders  $14.8 billion   Up 17.9 percent

High blood pressure  $13.6 billion   Down 3 percent

HIV/AIDS medicines  $11.7 billion   Up 12.1 percent

Attention deficit disorder  $10.4 billion   Up 13.1 percent

Ulcer medicines  $10 billion     Down 4.7 percent

Multiple sclerosis drugs  $8.9 billion    Up 17.8 percent

Antibiotics  $7.9 billion    Down 14.8 percent

Nervous system disorders  $7.2 billion    up 3.7 percent

Vaccines  $6.8 billion    Up 7.2 percent 

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Source: IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

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