According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, $208 billion dollars was spent on prescription drugs in 2006, and this data has remained consistent over the past years, so we can assume that the same amount is being spent now. The top five classes of prescription drugs being sold accounted for more than 60% of that whopping $208 billion.
And heading the list for the medicines sold are drugs for metabolic disorders including those that lower cholesterol, those that assist in weight loss, and the ones that treat diabetes; $38 billion is spent on those.
Next in line are the heart drugs with $33 billion for this group. Medicine for the central nervous system follows, and this includes pain medication and sleep aids ($28 billion.) Psycho-therapeutic drugs which comprise antidepressants reach sales of about $17.5 billion. Lastly about $14 billion were spent on drugs for hormones for osteroporosis, menopause, cancer therapy and other ailments.
The information for this piece was taken from USA Today which had the following as the first words of their lead sentence: "For those wondering what ails America , here's a ranking of the top five classes of prescription drugs sold nationwide..." This statement is misleading because the huge sales of these drugs do not necessarily prove that the ailments they treat, or supposedly treat in some cases, are necessarily what "ails America." These huge sales signify the incredible profits the drug companies make, and how successful they have been in marketing these drugs. For these companies the bottom line is what counts, and therefore patients should exercise a healthy skepticism when it comes to using these drugs or any drug for that matter.
Patients, do some research, get second opinions if possible, ask questions to health professionals and consider alternative forms of healing (if you don't already do so).