The 10 Most Prescribed Drugs

Posted by: admin on: May 6, 2011

If asked to make a guess, some of the most commonly sold (not prescribed) drugs in India would be Ranitidine, Omeprazole, Ibu Para combination and Alprazolam. With self-medication more of a norm, it is not possible to study prescription patterns in India. Let us see what is the trend in the west.


The 10 most prescribed drugs in the U.S. aren’t the drugs on which we spend the most, according to a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

Continuing a major trend, IMS finds that 78% of the nearly 4 billion U.S. prescriptions written in 2010 were for generic drugs (both unbranded and those still sold under a brand name). In order of number of prescriptions written in 2010, the 10 most-prescribed drugs in the U.S. are:

  • Hydrocodone (combined with acetaminophen) — 131.2 million prescriptions
  • Generic Zocor (simvastatin), a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — 94.1 million prescriptions
  • Lisinopril (brand names include Prinivil and Zestril), a blood pressure drug — 87.4 million prescriptions
  • Generic Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium), synthetic thyroid hormone — 70.5 million prescriptions
  • Generic Norvasc (amlodipine besylate), an angina/blood pressure drug — 57.2 million prescriptions
  • Generic Prilosec (omeprazole), an antacid drug — 53.4 million prescriptions (does not include over-the-counter sales)
  • Azithromycin (brand names include Z-Pak and Zithromax), an antibiotic — 52.6 million prescriptions
  • Amoxicillin (various brand names), an antibiotic — 52.3 million prescriptions
  • Generic Glucophage (metformin), a diabetes drug — 48.3 million prescriptions
  • Hydrochlorothiazide (various brand names), a water pill used to lower blood pressure — 47.8 million prescriptions.

The 10 Best-Selling Drugs

It shouldn’t be a surprise that these generic drugs are not the ones bringing in the big bucks for pharmaceutical companies. The drugs on which we spend the most money are those that are still new enough to be protected against generic competition.

The IMS reports that Americans spent $307 billion on prescription drugs in 2010. The 10 drugs on which we spent the most were:

  • Lipitor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — $7.2 billion
  • Nexium, an antacid drug — $6.3 billion
  • Plavix, a blood thinner — $6.1 billion
  • Advair Diskus, an asthma inhaler — $4.7 billion
  • Abilify, an antipsychotic drug — $4.6 billion
  • Seroquel, an antipsychotic drug — $4.4 billion
  • Singulair, an oral asthma drug — $4.1 billion
  • Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — $3.8 billion
  • Actos, a diabetes drug — $3.5 billion
  • Epogen, an injectable anemia drug — $3.3 billion

U.S. Prescription Drug Use: 2010 Factoids

Who’s paying for all these drugs? Commercial insurance helped pay for 63% of prescriptions, down from 66% five years ago. Federal government spending through Medicare Part D covered 22% of prescriptions.

For Americans covered by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, the average co-payment for a prescription was $10.73 — down a bit from 2009 due to increased use of generic drugs. The average co-payment for branded drugs for which generic alternatives were available jumped 6% to $22.73.

2 Responses to "The 10 Most Prescribed Drugs"

where can i get genuine information about “10 most common drugs sold in india?”
i want it for a local project

Difficult to get such a data, authenticated at that. Try Times of India online library

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  • drchasrani: Difficult to get such a data, authenticated at that. Try Times of India online library
  • rakesh pore: hi, where can i get genuine information about "10 most common drugs sold in india?" i want it for a local project
  • nilesh dutta: sir, Plz give detail about MBA Sports Management Thanks and Regards

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