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New Report Shows U.S. Drug Spending Rose 5.2% In 2015

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Americans are spending more on prescription drugs resulting in a 5.2 percent rise last year, a new report shows. Express Scripts issued the report and analysts have looked into the reasons for this sharp rise.

The reasons are thought to be a result of greater medication use and higher prices mainly pertaining to speciality drugs that are generally more expensive. In fact, the average prices of brand name drugs have nearly doubled in the past five years. New pricier treatments for hepatitis C, as well as older drugs for rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, rose 7 percent and was coupled with an 11 percent rise in unit cost, Reuters reports. However, the share of high cost speciality drugs “vary widely from year to year” the analysts involved say.

The share of high-cost “specialty drugs” as a percentage of all retail drug spending appears to vary widely from year to year, and the results of that kind of analysis depend heavily on which drugs an analyst chooses to classify as specialty drugs

According to the report, analysts say Americans spent around $457 billion on prescription drugs in 2015. Around $328 billion of that total was received by drug stores while healthcare providers as well as doctors and hospitals received $128 billion for delivery of prescription drugs through non-retail means.

The issue of increased drug prices is being debated by the current presidential candidates as consumers fight back on the rising prices. The price increases are due to the overall rise in healthcare spending by the government. According to Fortune pharmaceutical companies argue that the high prices are justified as the cost of producing the products and sending them out to the marketplace is highly expensive. However this is being met with distain by both politicians and consumers.

CEO of Express Scripts, the U.S. pharmacy benefits giant, thinks that the backlash on high drug prices will only persist as therapies become more personalized, specialized, and expensive. Looking ahead, Express Scripts said that it expects drug spending to increase 6.8 percent this year, 7.3 percent in 2017.

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