Top U.S. pharma products by prescriptions 2018

With 114 million dispensed prescriptions, atorvastatin was the most prescribed medicine in the United States in 2018. Atorvastatin is a medicine used to help lower cholesterol and can also be taken to prevent heart disease. The number of prescriptions issued for the drug increased by six million between 2017 and 2018.

Top therapeutic classes and products

There were 674 million prescriptions written for antihypertensive drugs in 2018, making it the therapeutic category with the most dispensed prescriptions in the United States. Approximately 60 billion U.S. dollars was spent on antidiabetics in the United States in 2018, making it the therapy area where the most money was spent. Humira – a branded drug used to treat arthritis – was the top medicine based on sales in the United States, generating around 18 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.

Does health insurance cover prescription drugs?

More than 480 billion U.S. dollars was spent on medicines in the United States in 2018. The majority of the population of the United States has health insurance, which includes prescription drug coverage. However, there are occasions when the health insurance plan does not cover the drug prescribed by a doctor. When this happens, patients may have to pay the full price of the medication, leaving many people out of pocket.

Top 20 U.S. pharma products by dispensed prescriptions in 2018

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Release date

May 2019


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

All figures are rounded. Includes prescriptions and insulins dispensed through chain and independent pharmacies, food store pharmacies, mail service pharmacies, and long-term care facilities. Excludes OTC. QuintilesIMS routinely updates its national audits, which may result in changes to previously reported market size and growth rates. Prescriptions are not adjusted for length of therapy; 90-day and 30-day prescriptions are both counted as one prescription. Table shows leading active-ingredients or fixed combinations of ingredients and includes both branded and generic products.

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