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GoodRx Top 10 Drug Guide: What Are the Most Expensive and Most Popular Drugs in the US

by Elizabeth Davis on January 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm

The new Goodrx Top 10 Lists are in, and this time we take a look back at the end of 2015. These are the most popular and most expensive drugs in the US, and they cover all kinds of conditions from common heart and pain meds to pricey treatments for cancer and genetic disorders.

To start with—which drugs were filled the most in the last quarter of 2015?

  • Popular pain med hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin, Norco) continues to top the list, even after it was reclassified as a schedule II controlled substance in 2015. This is the strictest level of control, and means you need a new prescription every time you fill (among other restrictions).
  • Common, chronic conditions continue to dominate our most popular list. Most people taking these prescriptions are on them long-term, for conditions like thyroid imbalance (levothyroxine / Synthroid), high blood pressure (lisinopril), diabetes (metformin), and high cholesterol (atorvastatin).
  • Also very commonly prescribed: drugs used for many different conditions, like prednisone, a common corticosteroid, and amoxicillin, an antibiotic.
  • Take a look at the full list to see what else Americans filled last year.

Which drugs were the most expensive?

  • Not a lot of change here either. The new, very effective and very expensive hepatitis C meds continue to top the list, including Sovaldi, Harvoni, Olysio, and Viekira Pak. Daklinza, approved in July 2015 joins them—but may be even more pricey overall as it’s used in combination with Sovaldi, another most-expensive contender. The slightly better news when it comes to all of these hepatitis C drugs: most courses of treatment are around 12 weeks long, so while they are quite costly per month, you don’t need to continue taking them for many months or years.
  • Cuprimine, used to treat Wilson’s disease (an accumulation of copper in the liver), and lead and mercury poisoining, is a suprising new addition. This drug has been around for decades—it was approved by the FDA in 1970—and fits the 2015 trend of huge price-hikes for existing medications. Manufacturer Valeant raised the price over 400% in 2015.
  • Hereditary angioedema (HAE) continues to be one of the most expensive rare genetic conditions to treat, with Cinryze and Firazyr both making our most-expensive list again this quarter.
  • See the full list for a look at the other most-expensive meds in the US.

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