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$9.1 billion

May 27, 2016

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the nation’s medicine cabinet, as New Jersey has long been known, spends quite a lot ($9.1 billion) on pharmaceuticals at its local drugstore, according to, a website maintained by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation. That’s 3.2 percent of what’s spent nationally ($287 billion).

While that may sound like a lot, it’s a rather modest rate per capita, at 11.7 separate purchases annually on average. States as varied as West Virginia (21.8), Mississippi (17.7), Tennessee, (18.7), Vermont (17.4), Pennsylvania (15.4), and Oregon (14.2) all have higher rates of per capita prescription drug use. As in most states, New Jersey women use more prescription drugs than men (13.3 vs. 9.9). And the older you get, the more prescriptions you take. In New Jersey, the average is 25.9 for those over the age of 65.

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