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Letters |

Trends in Medication Use in the United States

Shakoora Omonuwa, MD
JAMA. 2002;287(14):1804-1805. doi:10.1001/jama.287.14.1799.
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To the Editor: Dr Kaufman and colleagues1 examined trends in medication use in nonhospitalized US adults between 1998 and 1999. The large numbers of individuals (81%) taking at least 1 medication in any previous week was surprising, but Kaufman et al did not provide any explanation for this high percentage. One plausible reason may be increased direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising. Direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical spending increased by 41% from 1997 to 1998, when it reached more than $1.2 billion.2 It is also interesting that in 1998, 44% more was spent advertising to consumers than to physicians by top DTC pharmaceutical companies.2

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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