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Even with broad use of generics, drug spending grows in U.S.

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While drugmakers are concerned about how governments around the world are scaling back on drug spending, they can still take heart from the good old U.S. of A. Here, drug spending was up 3.5% in the last year, a 1.5% step ahead of the inflation rate. U.S. consumers forked over 13.3% more for branded drugs, but it was the cost of specialty drugs, such as new hepatitis C meds, which saw the steepest climb. According to a new study by pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, specialty drug prices were up 22.6% over the last 12 months, pushed in large part by increased spending for hepatitis C drugs Victrelis from Merck ($MRK) and Incivek from Vertex ($VRTX), the report says. Spending on hep C drugs recorded a 117.3% explosion. Story