- Expenditure Trends. In 2012, prescription drug spending dropped slightly by 1 percent, to $325.7 billion. This was the first time the research firm IMS Health had recorded a decrease in United States drug sales since the company began tracking such numbers in 1957. In 1984, 84% of all prescriptions dispensed were generics; IMS projects this may reach 86-87% but is unlikely to go higher. A growing share of pharmaceutical sales (>$90 billion in 2012 out of ~$240 billion in total pharmaceutical sales) is for specialty drugs that in some cases cost more than $200K per patient. Katie Thomas. U.S. Drug Costs Dropped in 2012, but Rises Loom. New York Times, March 19, 2013: A1, A3.