June 28, 2012 at 12:35 PM ET
The global economic malaise appears to have had a ripple effect on how much money was spent on health care.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Thursday that health care spending among its member countries ground to a halt in 2010, and early data suggests 2011 spending will follow a similar trend.
The OECD, whose member countries include many European countries, the United States and some others, said overall health care spending had grown by 5 percent on average between 2000 and 2009, continuing its steady increase even in the early stages of the economic crisis.
But by 2010, weak economic conditions pushed many governments to cut health care spending as they scrambled for ways to save money.
The overall halt in health care spending was mainly driven by cuts in public funding for health, particularly in Europe.
In Ireland and the Czech Republic, the report said, individuals were asked to pay more out of pocket for health care. Ireland also cut wages and fees paid to health care professionals.
Other countries have expanded the use of generic drugs, cut costs at health ministries and taken other steps to curb health care spending.
In the United States, spending growth slowed to about 3 percent, the OECD said.
Early data from some countries suggests health care spending also will be curbed in 2011, the OECD said.