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Hungary top drug consumer among OECD countries

Health spending and the number of doctors and nurses in Hungary are lower than the OECD average, whereas the share of spending on pharmaceuticals within the country's total health spending is the highest among all 34 OECD member states, according to a report the international organization released on Thursday.

Total health spending accounted for 7.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) in Hungary in 2009, less than the average 9.5% in OECD countries, said the report.

Hungary also ranked below the OECD average in terms of total health spending per capita, with spending of $1,511 in 2009, an amount roughly the half of the OECD average of $3,223, the OECD report said.

In 2009, Hungary had three physicians per 1,000 inhabitants, slightly below the OECD average of 3.1. There were 6.2 nurses per 1,000 people, also below the OECD average of 8.4.

In that year spending on pharmaceuticals accounted for 32.6% of total health spending in the country, which was the highest share among all OECD countries and about twice the OECD average of 16.9%, the report said.