Spending on Medicines

Recently, there has been an ongoing discussion about spending on prescription medicines. These discussions often fail to acknowledge that retail prescription medicines have consistently accounted for just 10% of health care spending in the country, despite having more than 500 new medicines brought to patients in the past 15 years. In fact, government actuaries project this share of spending to remain stable through the next decade.

High generic utilization rates, competition among brand-name medicines and aggressive tactics by insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate lower prices all help to keep the costs of medicines under control. These tactics are responsible for the growing progress against diseases, such as hepatitis C, cancer and Alzheimer’s. Since its peak in 1991, new cancer medicines have helped cut the cancer death rate by 22% and the latest hepatitis C treatments have a cure rate of more than 90% against a disease that kills more patients than HIV/AIDS. In the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, a new innovative medicine that delays the onset of the disease by five years would reduce the number of Americans with this condition by nearly half and reduce the cost of care for Alzheimer’s patients by $447 billion a year by 2050.

We can’t afford to have a health care system that doesn’t support innovation and encourage the development of new treatments for costly medical conditions. The video below gives insight into the essential truths about spending on medicines. Watch to learn more!