According to the latest news and numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) they may well be. Figures, just released, show that insurers and consumers spent $52.2 billion on prescription drugs for outpatient treatment of metabolic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high-cholesterol, obesity and thyroid disease.
The four remaining top therapeutic classes of outpatient prescription drugs were:
- Central Nervous System ($35 billion)
- i.e. chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease
- Cardiovascular drugs ($29 billion)
- i.e. calcium channel blockers and diuretics
- Antacids, & other medicines for gastrointestinal conditions ($20 billion)
- Antidepressants, antipsychotics & other psychotherapeutic drugs ($20 billion)
In 2008, purchases of metabolic drugs by adults age 18 and older accounted for 22% of the total $233 billion spent to buy prescription drugs.
To put this number in perspective, $223 billion would buy you either 1,000 brand new 747 jumbo jets; 137 new space shuttles or 495 space shuttle missions!