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The annual growth rate in spending on drugs may be cut in half over the next five years as people opt for less expensive generic medicines over brand-name treatments, a health-care research group said today.

While global expenditures for medicines will still reach almost $1.1 trillion by 2015, the annual compounded growth rate may be reduced to 3 to 6 percent through 2015, compared with 6.2 percent over the last five years, according to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics in Parsippany, New Jersey. Still, emerging markets will double their purchases to as much as $315 billion, the institute said in a report.

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