Report: Drug costs projected to rise 3% to 5% in 2014
Costs for medications are expected to rise 3% to 5% in all healthcare settings in 2014, according to a report published online by the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (AJHP), the professional journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).
Prescription drugs account for approximately 11% of overall U.S. healthcare expenditures. As with other healthcare expenditures, growth in prescription drug spending has lessened in recent years, with a 0.7% decrease in spending during the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2013, compared with 2012. The report expects a reversal of this trend in 2014, projecting a 3% to 5% increase in drug expenditures across all settings, a 5% to 7% increase in expenditures for clinic-administered drugs and a 1% to 3% increase in hospital drug expenditures.
“Our projections for 2014 indicate a clear reversal of the downward growth in prescription drug expenditures we have seen over the last several years,” said Glen T. Schumock, PharmD, Ph.D., lead author of the report National Trends in Prescription Drug Expenditures and Projections for 2014. “Drug expenditure trends will remain dynamic, and so health systems will need to carefully monitor local drug use patterns.”
These increases in expenditures are influenced by a variety of factors, according to the report, including new drug approvals and patent expirations. Using data provided by IMS Health, the authors report several trends in prescription drug spending, including:
- Clinics and nonfederal hospitals experienced increased drug spending (4.5% and 1.8% growth, respectively) in 2013 relative to 2012, while decreased expenditures were seen in federal facilities (-13.7%) and in long-term care (-4.2%), mail order (-1.9%) and retail pharmacy (-0.3%) sectors.
- Changes in expenditures for specific medications, drug classes and therapeutic categories. These included a significant decrease in expenditures in all settings for oxycodone; a significant increase in expenditures for influenza vaccines in the clinic, which may be due to new vaccine formulations and recommendations; a decrease in the expenditure growth rate for anti-cancer drugs (from 2012 to 2013), although anti-cancer drugs remain the top expenditure for hospitals and clinics; and changes in the availability of generic products, with fewer first-time generic drugs expected to reach the market in 2014.