Americans' obsession with beating their biological clock is growing by leaps and bounds.
Insured consumers today spend more on prescription drugs to keep their bodies wrinkle-free and sufficiently hairy than treating diseases that could actually pose dangers to their health, according to a recent study by pharmaceutical management company Express Scripts.
Since 2006, the rate of spending on "aging conditions" like sexual dysfunction, wrinkles, and hair loss grew by 46 percent, with the average person shelling out $73 per year. Only diabetes and high cholesterol treatments took up a larger portion of spending.
And that's just for commercially insured Americans. Medicare patients have spent 3 2 percent more on aging-related prescriptions since 2007, making it a faster growing treatment area than high cholesterol and high blood pressure combined.
"The study didn't come right out and say that these drugs shouldn't be covered by insurers or Medicare, but it did raise some sticky questions that anyone thinking about ways to control health care costs should also consider," says Bankrate.com's Jennie L. Phipps.
"The study suggested that if people spend all their money on drugs to treat normal aging, they may not have enough left over for more critical health needs."
Here are the treatments Americans spend the most on:
Hormone replacement therapy
What isn't included in the study is a look at the booming age-related cosmetics industry, which some analysts predict will balloon to $114 billion by 2015. These include over-the-counter treatments and procedures that aren't generally covered by insurers, like laser hair removal and plastic surgery.
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