National Coalition on Health Care highlights the impact of rising specialty drug prices

Originally published on AmericanPharmacyNews.com.

National Coalition on Health Care highlights the impact of rising specialty drug prices

By Allyson Beasecker | Thursday, Apr 23, 2015 @ 2:14pm

The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) released a white paper on the risks high specialty drug prices pose to patients and the health care system on Monday.

The NCHC said the U.S. health care system in 2013 spent more than $80 billion on specialty drugs, which cost on average 37 times as much as traditional drugs. Specialty drugs currently represent only 1 percent of all U.S. prescriptions, but make up more than 31 percent of drug spending. By 2017, specialty drug spending is expected to increase to 44 percent of all overall drug spending, the NCHC white paper said.

These high specialty drug prices affect consumers, businesses and plans. Specialty drug spending per member per year is anticipated to increase from $290 in 2012 to $845 by 2018.

Specialty drug price inflation also impacts taxpayers as the Medicare and Medicaid programs saw 45.9 percent and 35.8 percent increases in specialty drug spending in 2014, the report said.

“The status quo is unsustainable – our health care system cannot afford the unrelenting specialty drug price increases and devastating cost burden,” the report said. “A drug’s efficacy is only as good as its affordability. We hope this report helps spark a national discussion about potential solutions to the general crisis of affordability, and the specific, outrageous price increases in specialty medicines.”