NHE Data: Medicine spending grew just 1.3 percent in 2016

Holly Campbell
Holly Campbell December 12, 2017

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According to new data from the National Health Expenditures (NHE), retail medicine spending grew just 1.3 percent in 2016, down from 9 percent in 2015. To put that in context, total spending for hospitals grew more than 3.5 times that amount. This data, recently published in Health Affairs, reaffirms how our nation’s competitive marketplace for medicines controls costs while supporting the development of new treatments and cures.

Other key data points include:

  • Total patient out-of-pocket spending grew 3.9 percent in 2016 — the fastest in a decade.
  • Total spending for hospitals grew 4.7 percent, to $49 billion in 2016.
  • Total spending for physician and clinical services grew 5.4 percent, to $664.9 billion.
  • All major payers (Medicare, Medicaid and commercial health plans) experienced slower retail medicine spending growth in 2016.
  • In seven of the last 10 years, NHE data shows that retail medicine spending growth has been below total health spending growth.

Learn more at www.LetsTalkAboutCost.org.

Topics: Drug Cost, Out-of-Pocket Costs, Let's Talk About Cost