February 22, 2016 - Curant COO, Marc O'Connor, in Specialty Pharmacy Times - According to a November 2015 report from The Pew Charitable Trusts, Specialty Drugs and Health Care Costs, in 2014, less than 1% of all prescriptions were written for specialty drugs, yet they accounted for approximately 32% of total drug expenditures. And the price of many specialty drugs continues to rise: In 2013, the average wholesale price of existing specialty pharmaceuticals increased by over 10%.
The report further states, “Utilization rose by 5.8% in 2014 because of increased use of existing drugs and the introduction of new pharmaceuticals. In 1990, only 10 specialty drugs were on the market. Currently, approximately 300 such drugs are on the market, 19 of which became available in 2014 alone, with nearly 700 specialty drugs under development.
“Specialty” USED to mean those drugs and biologics that are complex to manufacture, can be difficult to administer, may require special patient monitoring, and sometimes have FDA-mandated strategies to control and monitor their use. Now it more accurately means “EXPENSIVE.” Again, according to the Pew Trusts report, “A recent survey found that 85% of health plans consider high cost a determining factor in identifying specialty drugs. Medicare’s definition of specialty drugs is also based on price: Pharmaceuticals costing $600 or more per month are considered specialty.”
It was only a matter of time before patient access would begin to suffer due to payer resistance in the approval process.
To read Marc's full article, visit Specialty Pharmacy Times.
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