Drug Costs on the Rise Again for 2014

Reversing the recent downward trend, costs for medication are expected to increase by up to 5% across healthcare settings in 2014.

Reversing the recent downward trend, costs for medication are expected to increase by up to 5% in 2014, according to a new report in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

The cost for clinic-administered drugs is projected to increase by 5% to 7%, while the cost in hospital drug expenditures will rise by 1% to 3%, according to the National Trends in Prescription Drug Expenditures and Projections for 2014 report by Glen T. Schumock, PharmD, MBA, PhD, et al. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have projected that US prescription drug expenditures will increase by 5.2% overall in 2014.

“Our projections for 2014 indicate a clear reversal of the downward growth in prescription drug expenditures we have seen over the last several years,” Schumock said in a statement. “Drug expenditure trends will remain dynamic, and so health systems will need to carefully monitor local drug use patterns.”

Currently, prescription drugs account for approximately 11% of overall US healthcare expenditures. In 2012 spending decreased 0.8% compared to the previous year and further decreased 0.7% in 2013.

In 2013 federal facilities, long-term care, mail order and retail pharmacy sectors all experienced decreased costs, while clinics and nonfederal hospitals reported an increase in drug spending (4.5% and 1.8%, respectively).

Some of the factors influencing the expected increase in drug expenditures include drug approvals and patent expirations. Fewer first-time generic drugs are expected to reach the market in 2014.

According to the report, in 2013 there was a significant decrease in expenditures for oxycodone, a decrease for anti-cancer drugs (although these remain the top expenditure for hospitals and clinics), and an increase in expenditures for influenza vaccines.

The report analyzed data from the IMS Health National Sales Perspectives database and, then, projected expenditures for 2014.