(KATIE KUEHNER HEBERT, BENEFITS PRO)
Increasing numbers of individuals are spending $50,000+ per year on prescription drugs, according to a report from Express Scripts, “Super Spending: U.S. Trends in High-Cost Medication Use.”
This tiny but growing population of individuals with complicated illnesses and special treatment needs are accounting for an increasingly significant amount of the nation’s overall prescription drug costs, the report finds.
Amazing therapies come at a staggering cost
“We live in a fortunate time when science has delivered amazing therapies and made it possible for people with complex, chronic diseases to live a little more normal life,” Glen Stettin, M.D., senior vice writes Express Scripts.
“Over the past five years, 118 specialty treatments have come to market for these conditions, and the medication pipeline is rich, with about 25 new specialty drugs expected to receive approval each year for the next five years.”
“We’re also entering an era where customized gene therapies offer hope for a cure for serious cancers and other rare, fatal diseases. Because these therapies target small patient populations, are administered once and demonstrate premium outcomes, they will command premium prices.”
An analysis of prescription drug use data for 134,008 consumers found that about 3 out of 1,000 met or exceeded $50,000 in prescription drug costs – a 35 percent increase from 2014 – and accounted for more than 20 percent of total prescription drug costs.
The top cost drivers are treatments for cancer, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory conditions, cystic fibrosis and other complex and rare diseases, according to the report.
Many of the individuals were in Medicare plans – in fact, this population was four times as common in Medicare plans than in employer-sponsored, Medicaid or exchange plans, with eight out of every 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries reaching $50,000 in prescription drug costs in 2016. READ THE FULL STORY AT BENEFITSPRO.COM.
Also of interest: $13.6 Billion Spent on This ONE DRUG ALONE Last Year