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Top of the morning to you. And a fine one it is. Blue skies and deliciously cool breezes are greeting us today, which calls for a celebration with — you guessed it — a cup of stimulation. Our flavor of choice today is, once again, bourbon pecan, for those keeping track. Despite the inviting weather, though, there is much to keep us in front of the laptop. This sounds familiar, yes? So time to get started with a few tidbits. Have a wonderful day, and drop us a line if you hear anything interesting. …

Thanks to Covid-19 vaccines and therapies, U.S. spending on pharmaceuticals rose 12% in 2021 as usage reached record levels and new prescriptions for acute and chronic care largely recovered from the slowdown seen during the pandemic, STAT says, citing a new analysis. Meanwhile, patient out-of-pocket costs rose $4 billion, or 5.3%, last year to $79 billion, which was the same level seen in 2018 after two years of declining costs. Overall, these costs were relatively low – less than $20 per prescription – but about 1% of all prescriptions filled, or 64 million, had $125 in such costs, underscoring ongoing barriers to affordability. In fact, 81 million prescriptions were not filled last year.

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