Most Prescribed Drugs in the U.S.

There is no doubt that pharmaceutical consumption is constantly increasing. “The prescription drug expenditure in the United States came to some 378 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. This amount includes only retail drug spending, excluding non-retail.” (Statista, 2023). According to the chart listed in the article, this was a nearly 28 billion dollar increase from the expenditure in 2020. In contrast, the change between 2019 and 2020 was just under 12 billion.

What could have caused such a drastic jump between 2020 and 2021? Perhaps, the global shutdown during the COVID-19 plan-demic. There is no doubt this is a consequences of locking people away for over a year. Now, I know some of you will immediately chalk up the surge in spending to inflation. While that may be to blame for some of the change, it is not the reason for it more than doubling.

The next several posts will go over some of the most prescribed drugs in the United States as of July 2023. I will focus on the “Top 10” as determined by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. I’ll also include a few honorable mentions. I will break down the uses of each drug, side effects and its mechanism of action in the body. Profitability, marketing, and information about the manufacturer will also be included.

The drugs we will cover are as follows:

  1. Atorvastatin
  2. Prednisone
  3. Amlodipine
  4. Lisinopril
  5. Azithromycin
  6. Levothyroxine
  7. Amoxicillin
  8. Metformin
  9. Albuterol
  10. Hydrocodone/acetaminophen

My hope is you will dive into this series with an open mind. Agreeing with everything I say is not a requirement, but I do hope I can make you think a little deeper. I encourage you to think critically about why these particular drugs are so commonly used. Who is benefitting? What are the long term effects? Hint: all of this can be answered by following the money trail.

You can easily find all posts associated with this series by looking for the matching “money pills” image or clicking the “Top 10 Drugs” tag on one of the posts.



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