New Specialty Medicines Drive Up Drug Spending

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Source: Health Day

New medicines targeting conditions like hepatitis C, cancer and multiple sclerosis helped to propel drug spending to its highest level in more than a decade, a new report finds.

Medicine sales jumped 13 percent, to nearly $374 billion, in 2014 after a period of mostly low single-digit growth, according to the report released Tuesday by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics in Parsippany, N.J.

Last year's increase was the largest since 2001, as spending rose 17 percent to nearly $174 billion on the growth of new "blockbuster" drugs, the report said.

For the report, the IMS Institute tallies U.S. drug spending across all settings -- from hospitals to retail pharmacies -- and outlines the forces channeling that growth. The institute received no drug company or government funding for the report.

New drug innovation, higher sticker prices and fewer patent expirations on brand-name medications led to sharply higher spending last year, the study authors noted.

"The good news is there's a lot going on in terms of new drug development -- a record number of new treatments and a strong pipeline that suggests we'll continue to see real high levels of innovation coming into the market," said one of the report's authors, Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

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