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Psychiatric Medication Spending Growth Slows, According to New Thomson Reuters Research
Date:2/1/2012

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The national growth rate for psychiatric medication spending has declined significantly, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Thomson Reuters (Healthcare) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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The paper, which appears in the January 2012 issue of Psychiatric Services, underlines falling prices of psychiatric medications as one of the key contributors that has enabled the annual growth rate of psychiatric drug expenditures per patient to dip from 18.5 percent from 1997–2001 to 6.3 percent from 2001–2008. The decline in average prices was driven, in turn, by the entry of generic products—particularly generic antidepressants. Generics grew from 36% of psychiatric prescriptions filled in 1997 to 70% in 2008.

The number of new users of psychiatric medications also slowed during the 11–year study period. The growth in users of psychiatric drugs declined from 7% (1997–2001) to 2% (2001–2008).

"Employers and insurers have been concerned with the rate of increase in psychiatric drug costs.  As a result, they have implemented measures to control the cost of psychiatric medication prescriptions, such as step therapy, tiered payment, and other proactive cost-control measures," said Tami Mark, Ph.D., the paper's lead author and Senior Director, Thomson Reuters. "The high growth in spending during the late 1990s and into the early years of the next decade appears to have been a temporary phenomenon fueled by the introduction of new medications still on patent as well as by the rising use of those medications."

Data were compiled for the report from the Thomson Reuters MarketScan® Commercial Claims and Encounters Database, which provided private i
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