New Analysis Finds U.S. Spending on Drugs Will Grow Faster Than Any Other Medical Good or Service
A new analysis published in the journal Health Affairs estimates that national health spending in the U.S. will climb to $5.7 trillion by 2026, with prescription drug spending forecast to grow at an average of 6.3 percent per year between 2017 and 2026. The projection indicates that prescription drug spending will grow faster than spending on any other major medical good or service over the next decade.
Looking back between 2010 and 2015, spending on specialty pharmaceutical drugs was responsible for 70 percent of overall drug spending growth during these five years, and in 2015, spending on such medications reached $150 billion, an increase of over 20 percent from 2014. Specialty medications can be complex biologics or small molecules, and in general, these medications help treat complex or serious illnesses, such as:
- nervous system or blood disorders
- autoimmune conditions
- chronic diseases such as asthma or rheumatoid arthritis
Specialty drugs typically involve a limited distribution network, close patient monitoring, requirements for special handling, and/or use only in a unique patient population. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2017 defined a specialty medication as a drug which costs more than $670 a month.
WorldCare’s most recent laser-focused medical second opinion (MSO) service, WorldCare SpecialtyRX, aims to combat the ever-rising costs associated with specialty drugs. WorldCare SpecialtyRX takes an in-depth look at a member’s underlying medical condition and specialty drug treatment plan by first conducting a multi-disciplinary evaluation of the member’s medical condition by a team of specialists and sub-specialists (about four, on average) at one of the top-ranked academic and research hospitals of The WorldCare Consortium®. Then, an additional, enhanced specialty drug second opinion is completed by a PhD pharmacy expert from The WorldCare Consortium®.
The leading experts of The WorldCare Consortium® are equipped with knowledge of the latest clinical trials, most advanced medical research and the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art treatment options. The leveraged knowledge and long-standing virtual pharmacological experience of The WorldCare Consortium® is unmatched and unparalleled by any other MSO provider today. The specialists and sub-specialists at these top-ranked hospitals provide comprehensive engagement between the member and their specialty drug care team, ensuring the most important issues are addressed, with crucial top-level guidance in suggesting alternatives and cost-containment possibilities.