Yet Another Misleading Report on Medicine Prices

Robert Zirkelbach   |     May 13, 2015   |   SHARE THIS

Today Express Scripts released yet another misleading report to promote a false narrative about medicine spending in the United States. 

For more than 50 years, spending on medicines has consistently accounted for just 10 percent of U.S. health care spending.

Yet this report ignores this reality and instead focuses solely on the costs of treating the sickest patients with the most health conditions. In fact, less than one percent of patients included in the report are at the top of the cost spectrum and one-third of those are being treated for ten or more different medical conditions.

The report also found that nearly 70 percent of patients incurred less than $1,000 in medicine expenditures in 2014.


The report also failed to acknowledge the tremendous benefit new innovative medicines provide to patients, the health care system and society. Since 2000, more than 500 new medicines have been brought to U.S. patients resulting in significant progress against the most challenging diseases and helping patients to avoid expensive hospital care. 

Also ignored is the fact that insurers are increasingly requiring patients who need care the most to pay an ever-growing share of their medicine costs. Many patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases are facing coinsurance of 40 percent or more, making it difficult – if not impossible – to access the medicines they need to manage their conditions.

Read more about spending on medicines here.

Learn more about barriers patients face in accessing needed medicines here.

Robert Zirkelbach

Robert Zirkelbach Robert Zirkelbach is Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at PhRMA. He joined PhRMA in 2014 after working for seven years representing the health insurance industry. He likes Saturday afternoon BBQs on his deck, traveling, trying new restaurants, and attempting to play golf. He’s an avid, somewhat obsessive, Iowa Hawkeye fan and is lucky to have a wife that loves watching college football on Saturday afternoons.

Topics: Access, Drug Cost, Out-of-Pocket Costs

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