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Table: Rx for Drug Costs

The following steps might help to slow America's rising tab

-- Close legal loopholes that Big Pharma uses to delay generic competition.

-- Lower unnecessary health-care and drug costs--from adverse drug reactions to overprescriptions--by curbing drug misuse.

-- Require insured patients to pay a percentage of a prescription's cost out of pocket, with percentages rising for more expensive choices.

-- Disseminate information on the value of drugs--i.e. how well one drug works compared to the alternatives.

-- Reduce hospitalizations and later drug costs by promoting preventative steps against heart disease, diabetes, and other problems.

-- Tighten rules on advertising drugs directly to consumers. The ads often encourage consumers to select pricey drugs over cheaper ones that work just as well.

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