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US Spending on Traditional Prescription Drugs Fell in 2012 for First Time on Record
Date:3/4/2013

y drug costs than the national average. And increased drug competition, in the form of biosimilars, is necessary to offer more affordable medication for patients afflicted with these complex specialty conditions."

A Historic First in Traditional Prescription Drug Spending

Since 1993 when Express Scripts began recording annual drug trend, 2012 marks the first year where total spending on traditional drugs declined.

  • Last year's "patent cliff" ushered in lower-cost generic alternatives for many blockbuster medications and utilization increased for eight of the top 10 traditional therapy classes, while unit costs decreased in seven.
  • For the second consecutive year, the country spent more on prescription drugs for diabetes than for any other therapy class. Diabetes drug spending increased 11 percent in 2012, driven in part by unit cost increases for popular insulins.
  • Spending on medications to treat attention disorders increased 14.2 percent in 2012. Utilization increased 8.8 percent, due largely to an increased number of adult patients. Unit costs increased 5.4 percent as a result of a 2012 shortage of active ingredients contained in many of the medications in this class.

The Increasing Challenge of Specialty Prescription Drug Spending

Specialty medications often require specialized handling or administration, frequent dosing adjustments, and intensive clinical monitoring and patient assistance. While affecting fewer than 2 percent of the general population, specialty conditions in 2012 accounted for 24.5 percent of the country's total drug spend within the pharmacy benefit, the highest percentage on record.

  • Four of the country's 15 costliest diseases in drug spend are treated with specialty medications — inflammatory conditions, multiple sclerosis, cancer and HIV.
  • Inflammatory conditions su
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SOURCE Express Scripts
Copyright©2012 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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