- An estimated three out of every 1,000 Americans ring up a bill of more than $50,000 in annual prescription drug costs last year, according to a new analysis of health plan members published Tuesday by Express Scripts, one of the largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) in the U.S.
- The number of people who meet this threshold for high pharmaceutical expenditures has risen sharply, by 35%, since the PBM’s last report on the trend in 2014. While numerically small, this group of patients accounted for more than 20% of total U.S. spending on prescription drugs in 2016, reports Express Scripts.
- Perhaps unsurprisingly, higher utilization of pricey specialty medicines for cancer, multiple sclerosis and rare diseases was the primary driver of spending among patients with annual pharmacy costs over $50,000. Yet that was a change from 2014, when new hepatitis C drugs and compounded medicines goosed spending.