“The drop has been primarily driven by a collapse in the growth of government health spending since 2009 – recording close to zero growth in both years on average,” the OECD reported (http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/health-spending-continues-to-stagnate-says-oecd.htm). “Private health spending also slowed down in many countries in 2010 and 2011 as household incomes remained flat or decreased, although the reduction was more limited.”
Not surprisingly, Greece faced the biggest cut in health spending – falling by more than 10% between 2009 and 2011. South Korea led spending growth for industrialized nations, posting a 7% gain over those two years. However, even that country's spending was sharply down from the previous decade, when healthcare spending growth averaged nearly 10% per year.
The pharmaceutical industry has become a major target for reductions, the OECD noted. “In 2011, Portugal, Greece and Spain reduced spending on prescription pharmaceuticals by 20%, 13% and 8% respectively. In Spain, the share of generic drugs (in the total volume of consumption) more than doubled between 2006 and 2011.”
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