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According to an article published on Reuters today, the cholesterol-lowering drug category of statins, the most popular of which is Lipitor by Pfizer, was responsible for the Lion’s share of prescription drug sales in 2004.

While cholesterol-lowering drug tended to be the most profitable for drug companies, according to federal estimates, patients spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 billion in 2004 on Lipitor alone. Merck’s Zocor came in a close second with $4.7 billion in sales.

Proton pump inhibitors also comprised a substantial portion of consumer pharmaceutical spending. According to the survey, AstraZeneca’s Nexium accounted for $4.2 billion in drug sales, while Prevacid accounted for $2.4 billion.

The survey did not include any generic prescriptions, and some of the drugs included in the study are now available as generics.

For more information on consumer prescribing habits, the full survey is available at http://www.meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st180/stat180.pdf.

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.

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