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New data put medicine costs and spending in context

Holly Campbell   |     June 26, 2017   |   SHARE THIS

We are in a new era of medicine where breakthrough science is transforming patient care and enabling us to more effectively treat chronic diseases, like cancer and diabetes, which are the biggest cost driver in our health care system.

In the midst of this tremendous progress, medicine costs are growing at the slowest rate in years. In fact, after factoring in discounts and rebates, prices for brand medicines increased just 3.5 percent last year and total spending on medicines increased just 4.8 percent last year.

Yet, too often these negotiated savings are not shared with patients who are increasingly being asked to pay more out of pocket.

Our newly released Prescription Medicines: Costs in Context explains how robust negotiation and competition in the marketplace help to keep costs under control and highlights how too often negotiated savings do not make their way to patients. Stories of patients who struggle to access their medicines are why biopharmaceutical companies are working with private health insurers to implement new payment arrangements for medicines that treat a variety of diseases. Our industry is committed to working with policymakers to advance solutions that further enhance the private marketplace, lower costs for patients and promote continued medical innovation. 

Must-know facts include:

  • Treating people with one or more chronic condition consumes 90 cents of every dollar spent on health care.

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  • Multiple sources confirm 2016 spending growth was between 3 and 5 percent.

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  • Spending on retail and physician-administered medicines continues to represent just 14 percent of spending.

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  • Spending on prescription medicines is a small percentage of total health care spending around the world.

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  • Biopharmaceutical companies invested about $75 billion in research and development (R&D) in 2015 and, on average, reinvest 20 percent of revenues into R&D.

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Get more at PhRMA.org/cost.

Holly Campbell

Holly Campbell Holly Campbell is former deputy vice president of public affairs at PhRMA focusing on the cost and value of medicines. Prior to joining PhRMA, Holly worked for large and small public relations firms where she provided strategic communications counsel, media relations and partnership expertise to health care and pharmaceutical clients. In her free time, she enjoys taking barre classes, trying new restaurants and spending time with Boss and Poppy, her rescue pups.

Topics: Drug Cost

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