U.S. total medicine spending 2002-2018

In the United States, the total amount of money spent on medicines reached approximately 482 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. Spending increased each year between 2012 and 2018, rising by a total of 164 billion U.S. dollars over that period.

How are drugs categorized in the United States?

Sales of brand name drugs accounted for a 78.7 percent share of the money spent on medicines in the United States in 2018. Humira was the medicine that generated the most sales revenue in 2018, making around 18 billion U.S. dollars. Drugs can be categorized in a variety of different ways, but one common method is to group them by therapeutic use, i.e., by the type of condition they are used to treat. Antidiabetics continues to be the category where the most money is spent, with people in the United States spending around 60 billion U.S. dollars on drugs to treat diabetes in 2018.

What is Humira used for?

Humira is a drug used to reduce the signs and symptoms of a number of autoimmune diseases in adults, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The drug, manufactured by the company AbbVie, is the leading pharmaceutical product worldwide based on sales – sales of the drug accounted for approximately 61 percent of AbbVie’s total revenue in 2018. The prescription drug is given by an injection under the skin, and two kits of the Humira Pen (40 mg) cost an average of 4,480 U.S. dollars in the United States in 2017, which was far more expensive than other selected countries.

Total nominal spending on medicines in the U.S. from 2002 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars)*

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Release date

May 2019


United States

Survey time period

2002 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* Includes prescription and insulin products sold into chain and independent pharmacies, food store pharmacies, mail service pharmacies, long-term care facilities, hospitals, clinics, and other institutional settings. Excludes OTC.
This statistic was assembled from several editions of the same IMS Health/QuintilesIMS report.

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Statistics on "U.S. pharmaceutical industry"

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