New Data Reaffirms Positive Trend in Prescription Drug Spending

BIOtech Now
Jim Greenwood

Earlier this year, BIO launched to help explain how our drug cost ecosystem works and to ensure accurate, well-sourced information on prescription drug costs is available to policymakers, the media and the broader public. It’s important to get the facts straight, or else the consequences could be detrimental to patients and the future of biomedical innovation.

Fortunately, there are times when the facts speak for themselves. That’s true for new data on health care spending released this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which shows a positive trend on prescription drugs that should be welcome news for patients and policymakers around the country.

Here are some of the facts released by CMS:

  • National spending on retail prescription drugs grew just 1.3 percent in 2016, which is less than the overall growth in health care spending of 4.3 percent.
  • The decline in spending was felt by patients across the board. This includes those in the Medicare and Medicaid programs — a good sign for patients and taxpayers.
  • Drug spending in the commercial market experienced growth of just 0.8 percent last year, which is a stark contrast to what we’ve heard again and again from some of the nation’s largest insurers.
  • The 1.3 percent growth in spending on retail drugs was lower than spending growth for hospitals (4.7 percent), physicians and clinical services (5.4 percent) and private health insurance (5.1 percent).

While this new data reflects what happened in 2016, we have already seen encouraging reports that reveal a similar trend on drug prices and drug spending for this year.

For patients and their families, these facts show we are heading in the right direction. For policymakers, it reaffirms why we shouldn’t adopt policies that would undermine patient safety, harm seniors and stifle innovation.

Instead, we should continue to advance commonsense, market-based solutions to help ensure all patients have access to the innovative cures and treatments they need and with out-of-pocket costs they can afford.

That’s why BIO will continue to support the consensus reforms put forward by the Council for Affordable Health Coverage and work to ensure the public has all of the facts it needs in the drug cost debate.

Full BIOtech Now Article here

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