AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Defense Department spending on prescription drugs in the past decade has soared, reflecting the aging military retirees its health care program covers.
An analysis of Pentagon drug purchases since 2002 published Sunday by the Austin American-Statesman found, for example, that last year the Defense Department spent more on pills, injections and vaccines than it did on Black Hawk helicopters, Abrams tanks, Hercules C-130 cargo planes and Patriot missiles combined.
Officials with the military's health care program Tricare say Pentagon spending on drugs increased by more than 123 percent since 2002 to $6.8 billion in 2011. That was nearly double the growth rate of overall pharmaceutical sales in the United States during the same period.
There is concern the rapidly growing drug costs could divert money from training and weapons.