A relative success story in the battle to limit health spending growth is the prescription drug category, which a few years ago was a major source of concern. A report from IMS on drug use and costs in 2012 suggests that use of drugs and cost remain stable. (IMS Report) Overall prescription drug spending was about $326 billion in 2012, which was down about 1%. There were about 1.2% more prescriptions filled, but on a per capita basis this was down .1%, while the cost of an average prescription was constrained by continuing use of generics and lower branded drug price increases, combining for a 3.5% decline in per capita drug spending. Branding spending fell to $230 billion, but new specialty drug brands continue to grow and contribute heavily to overall branded spending, and the pipeline largely consists of these drugs. The top five drug classes were oncology at $26 billion, mental health at $23.5 billion, respiratory at $22 billion, diabetes at $22 billion and pain at $18 billion. Patient cost sharing, primarily in the form of higher deductibles, continues to increase, and may have an effect on patient use of a variety of health services. Although cost sharing has gone up, 72% of prescriptions cost patients 10% or less. Other categories of utilization showed little growth; office visits rose less than 1% on a per capita basis, non emergency hospitalizations declined by .5%, while ER visits rose by 5.8%. The drops in utilization may raise concerns about whether patients are deferring needed care or just avoiding inappropriate visits.
✅ Subscribe via Email
About this Blog
The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
Healthy Skeptic Podcast
This is an outstanding report on total global drug spending and trends, with projections out to 2025. It helps you understand this important area of health care, which does much...
June 1, 2021
MedPAC 2019 Report to Congress
June 18, 2019
Mental health company Headway makes, well, headway, by raising an impressive $125 million round of new capital. The company connects patients with mental health providers and facilitates providers working with...
October 11, 2023
Two health care firms owned by private equity firms are merging in a transaction supposedly valued at $3 billion. HealthComp administers self-funded plans for employers and other groups and Virgin...
September 27, 2023
NextGen, an electronic medical records firm, is being put out of its public company misery, as a PE firm will pay $1.6 billion for the one-time high-flier.
September 7, 2023
Access ACO Care Management Chronic Disease Comparative Effectiveness Consumer Directed Health Consumers Devices Disease Management Drugs EHRs Elder Care End-of-Life Care FDA Financings Genomics Government Health Care Costs Health Care Quality Health Care Reform Health Insurance Health Insurance Exchange HIT HomeCare Hospital Hospital Readmissions Legislation M&A Malpractice Meaningful Use Medicaid Medical Care Medicare Medicare Advantage Mobile Pay For Performance Pharmaceutical Physicians Providers Regulation Repealing Reform Telehealth Telemedicine Wellness and Prevention Workplace