Recently we blogged about a report generated by a division of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which showed that 1 in 10 of Americans over age 12 take some sort of anti-depressant medication. That lead to another question for us. What are the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S.? According to a report from IMS Institute for Healthcare Informactics, a pharmaceutical market intelligence firm, the top ten prescribed medications for 2010 were as follows:
- 131.2 million prescriptions – Hydrocodone (combined with acetaminophen) pain medication
- 94.1 million prescriptions – Generic Zocor (simvastatin), a statin medication designed to lower cholesterol
- 87.4 million prescriptions – Lisinopril (include the brand names Prinivil &Zestril) – used to treat blood pressure
- 70.5 million prescriptions – Generic Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium) – a synthetic thyroid hormone
- 57.2 million prescriptions – Generic Norvasc (amlodipine bysylate), used to treat angina/blood pressure
- 53.4 million prescriptions – Omeprazole (generic Prilosec) an antiacid medication – over-the-counter sales are not included in this figure
- 52.6 million prescriptions – Azithromycin (includes Zithromax and Z-Pak) an antibiotic
- 52.3 million prescriptions – Amoxicillin (includes various brand names) an antibiotic
- 48.3 million prescriptions – Generic Glucophage (metformin) – a diabetes medication
- 47.8 million prescriptions – Hydrocholorthiazide (includes various brand names) – diuretic, water pill used to lower blood pressure
Did you notice something about all of the above? They are all generic medications. According to the IMS report, nearly 78% of the 4 billion prescriptions written in the U.S. in 2010 were for generic medications.
Generic medicines do not generate as much money for the pharmaceutical companies as do name brand medications. The list for the most prescribed medications differs greatly from the biggest money maker list. So what medications make the most money for the pharmaceutical companies? We will look into that question.