Prescription drug spending slows after two-year surge

Washington Examiner | 12/6/2017 | Kimberly Leonard
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Spending on prescription drugs slowed in 2016 after rapid growth during the two previous years, according to an analysis by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Prescription drug spending accelerated by 8.9 percent in 2015 and by 12.4 percent in 2014, but slowed to 1.3 percent in 2016, according to the analysis. Total expenditures on prescription drugs reached $328.6 billion, which represents about 10 percent of total healthcare spending, a share that is consistent with past years despite the fluctuations in total spending from year to year.

Slowdown - Growth - Drugs - Market - Growth

The rapid slowdown in growth occurred because fewer new drugs hit the market, because of slower growth in prices of both brand-name and generic drugs and because fewer prescriptions were written for drugs that cure the liver disease hepatitis C.

The hepatitis C drugs are used to treat patients who might otherwise require a liver transplant and are known by their brand names Sovaldi and Harvoni, which hold list prices of $84,000 and $94,000, respectively. In 2014, those drugs alone accounted for $11.3 billion in new spending.

List - Prices - State - Governments - Programs

Because of the list prices, state and federal governments healthcare programs have struggled to afford the medications, leading to restrictions and waitings lists. Hepatitis C is spread through blood contact and an estimated 3 million Americans are infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Outside sources show that in 2016 spending on hepatitis C...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Washington Examiner
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