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Drugs – Average Cost (2020 MEPS data)

The average cost of prescribed drugs for each person that had an expense in 2020 was $2,549. This was up 30% from 2016, according to the MEPS Household Component data tool. (Select the “Use, Expenditures and Population” tab.) Medical inflation in general from 2016 to 2020 was less than 12%. Consequently this shows drug costs rising faster than medical inflation. Medical price inflation between 2020 and 2022 is reported at an additional 5%. The data tool may also be able to give an estimate of the cost for specific “Prescribed Drugs”. MEPS is the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, updated 2022.

An older, and more detailed, MEPS report showed an estimate of $1,955 in 2016 for those who had annual costs. The median total expense then, was $326. Average out of pocket expense for the year was $238 for those with prescribed medicines. The average out of pocket expenditure was $401 for those over 65 and $188 for those under 65. Overall median out of pocket was $51, as insurance covered more of the cost. Statistical Brief #522 by AHRQ (published May 2019).

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Consumer Health Ratings