Modest Rise in U.S. Spending On Prescription Drugs in 2017

Spending on prescription medicines in the U.S. last year grew by only 0.6 percent, after accounting for rebates and discounts from drug makers, according to a report from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. During the same period, overall spending dropped to $700 million from $12.1 billion in 2016.

Generics accounted for 90 percent of medications dispensed in 2017 and were usually prescribed (97% of the time) when they could be swapped with brand-name products.

“The numbers [reflect] heightened competition among manufacturers for volume [market] share and a growing willingness of pharmacy benefit managers to play one company off against another in their contract negotiations,” said Murray Aitken, MBA, an IQVIA senior vice president and executive director of the institute. “And with more companies competing in many categories, they’re willing to take a lower level of net price increases in order to retain market share.”

Source: STAT News, April 19, 2018.