Children have out-stepped senior citizens and baby boomers as the fastest-growing population segment consuming prescription drugs, according to new research. Spending on prescription drugs for children under the age of 19 increased by 85% over the last five years with spending in some categories of pediatric prescriptions soaring by as much as 1,000%, according to the Medco Health Solutions 2002 Drug Trend Report. At the same time, children are taking 34% more medications than they were five years ago, and an estimated 2.8 million more children are being prescribed mediations, the research showed. The three biggest drivers by therapeutic category are asthma, allergy and anti-infectives. Neurological or psychological treatments and dermatologic drugs ran second. The report examined the drug spending of the 65 million members of the pharmacy benefit manager, formerly known as Merck-Medco. --Cinda Becker
Children become fastest-growing segment of Rx drug users
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