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Skyrocketing drug prices and rising number of Rx fuel big increases in spending: HHS

Shared by Radhika Narayanan | 3 53 1 | about 3 years ago

Big Pharma is already under scrutiny for skyrocketing drug prices, and now the industry is facing more pushback. A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services zeroes in on drug price increases as one key driver of rising drug costs.

Drug spending shot up by an estimated 12.6% to $424 billion from 2013 to 2014, the HHS report says. And the trend is likely to continue, with drug spending rising again to $457 billion in 2015.

Higher drug prices are primarily to blame. Prescription drug spending shot up 26% to $424 billion in 2014 from $356 billion in 2010, but the number of prescriptions didn’t grow as quickly. “The fact that total expenditures rose more quickly than the number of prescriptions suggests that prices are growing faster than quantities,” the report authors said. “Therefore, price changes are contributing more to the growth in spending than is growth in volume of prescriptions.”

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