Cost of Children's Meds Skyrocket

June 20, 2001 ( - The cost of medication prescribed to children younger than 10 rocketed nearly 18% per prescription last year, the largest increase of any age group, according to new research.

Analysis of prescription drug cost by Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit management firm, shows that the cost of children’s medication increased to $33.23 per prescription last year, from $28.25 in 1999.


In this category, the per-prescription cost increase was fueled by higher prices, use of more expensive medications, as opposed to generic brands, and use of new formulations, which cost more but are easier for children to take.

Antibiotics represent the lion’s share of the costs, with penicillin and cephalosporin accounting for almost a third of all medications prescribed to children in the under 10 age group.

The figures, based on a sample of 8.8 million plan members, show that on the whole, prescription drug costs increased by 16% on average to $449.74 per member for 2000, and the number of prescriptions per member per year increased by almost 4% to 8.6 prescriptions per member.