The United States spent $2.9 trillion on healthcare last year. Hospitals make up the single-largest share (31%) of the total, followed by doctors and clinics (20%) and prescription drugs (9%). Yet this picture is somewhat misleading.
About $109 billion in prescription drug spending last year was obscured within the $2.9 trillion total for U.S. health spending released by federal officials this fall, economists with the Altarum Institute said in a new report.
The federal figures do not report drugs administered by clinicians in hospitals, clinics and elsewhere in the official total for prescription drugs, which instead limits the tally to retail sales that totaled $272 billion last year.