New Drug Report Confirms Drug Prices On Unsustainable Path

Reaction from National Coalition on Health Care President and CEO John Rother on key findings from the “Express Scripts 2014 Drug Trend Report.”

“The Express Scripts 2014 Drug Trend Report released on Tuesday of this week provides the hard data confirming what stakeholders have been saying for the past year: our families, our employers and our public programs are being swamped by a wave of unsustainably high-priced drugs.

The report finds a nearly 31% rise in spending on specialty drugs in 2014, as compared to 2013, driven in large part by Sovaldi, the $1000/day Hep C medication. Medicare was hit even harder by a more than 46.1% jump in specialty drug spending.

This spike in Hep C-related costs is not a blip. It’s a harbinger for a developing and unsustainable trend in system wide drug spending. Specialty pharmaceuticals, once used to treat rare conditions, are now becoming common treatments for far more prevalent chronic conditions like diabetes and cancer.

Getting these prices under control is imperative. Innovative new therapies can do nothing to improve health or save lives if most Americans can’t afford them.

Research conducted by CVS Caremark in 2013 projected that specialty drug costs will reach $400 billion a year by 2020. And with the findings from yesterday’s report, we now know traditional drug prices are climbing as well- rising 6.4% in 2014.

Year in and year out, continued growth in drug prices will force health costs even higher putting pressure on businesses, states, and Medicare, ultimately forcing trade-offs.

If America doesn’t get a handle on the high price of drugs, we won’t just be impoverishing our health, we will be impoverishing our country with other investments that benefit us all.”

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The Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP) is a project of the National Coalition on Health Care, the oldest and most diverse group working to achieve comprehensive health system reform representing more than 80 participating organizations, including medical societies, businesses, unions, health care providers, faith-based associations, pension and health funds, insurers and groups representing consumers, patients, women, minorities and persons with disabilities. Member organizations collectively represent – as employees, members, or congregants – over 100 million Americans. CSRxP aims to spark a national dialogue about the need to find market-driven solutions to the problems caused by the onslaught of new high-priced prescription medicines. Follow CSRxP on Twitter.