ST. LOUIS (AP) — Prescription drug spending growth last year mirrored 2011′s increase, but U.S. spending on traditional medicines for problems like high cholesterol fell for the first time in more than 20 years, according Express Scripts Holding Co.’s annual drug trend report.

Total spending grew 2.7 percent last year, as an 18.4 percent increase in specialty medication spending countered a 1.5 percent decrease for those traditional drugs. Specialty drugs often require frequent dosing adjustments, more intensive clinical monitoring and specialized handling or administration. They can include treatments for multiple sclerosis and cancer.

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