Retail drug spending growth slowed in 2017 due to new innovative drugs and faster price growth of brand name meds, according to a report by CMS’ Office of the Actuary.
The report found that retail prescription drug spending — which accounts for 10 percent of total healthcare expenditures — only increased 0.4 percent in 2017 to $333.4 billion. This follows a downward trend: while spending grew 12.4 percent in 2014, it slowed to 8.9 percent in 2015 and sank lower still, to 2.3 percent, a year later.
CMS said the catalysts for slower retail drug spending include slower growth in the number of prescriptions dispensed and slower volume growth of expensive drugs. The fact that a shift continues towards cheaper generics, whose prices are declining, contributed significantly as well, the report said.