Drug spending by Blue Cross Blue Shield Members Increases by 73% Since 2010

Blue Cross Blue Shield

A study of the recent statistics made by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association revealed that drug spending has increased by 73% over 2010-2017. An exponential increase in the cost of drugs in the recent years is the primary factor responsible for this inflation in rug spending, with patented drugs driving 2-digit annual growth in USA’s total pharmaceutical spending.

The study released was the twelfth one in the series, ‘The Health of America Report’ conducted by the Blue Cross Blue Shield in collaboration with Blue Health Intelligence. The research involved effectively used the latest trends of the pharmaceutical market database to reveal trends and uncover in-depth insights. The BCBS examined around 30 million people with commercial health plan reports while making this report.

The key highlights of the report state that the cost of branded drugs that are patent-protected increased by 285% in the last 7 years and continues at around 25% per year. Citing an example, the cost of the drug Gilenya, a treatment for multiple sclerosis, increased by 30,257% since 2010. An analytical study of the trend reveals that the total drug spending on patented drugs has risen from 29% to 63% while increase in prescription drug-cost is less than even 10%.

The report reflects an aggressive pricing strategy which reveals strategic increase in prices of patented drugs to overcome the decrease in the prescription filling. The data also suggests an emphatic rise in the use of generic drugs in the country. Thus, although the use of patented drugs has decreased, the drug spending continuous to increase day by day. According to Maureen Sullivan, the chief strategy and innovation officer of the BCBS, “This upward trend is due to a small fraction of emerging, patented drugs with rapid uptake and large year-over-year price increases that are more than offsetting the continued growth in utilization of lower-cost generic drugs.” Large-scale adoption of generic drugs and deteriorating health of the people is expected to continue this trend in the coming years.

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