6 Key Findings on Medicine Spending in 2013

Growth in U.S. medicine spending has remained at historically low levels, according to a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics.

The Institute examined the cost and use of prescription medications last year, including insulins available without a prescription. Here are six key findings from the report.

1. The U.S. spent a total of $329.2 billion on medications last year, a 3.2 percent increase on a nominal basis, compared with the 1 percent decline seen in 2012.

2. Despite the increase in nominal spending, net price growth for medicines was essentially flat year-over-year because of off-invoice discounts and rebates.

3. Patent expirations led to a $19 billion decrease in medicine spending, compared with a $29 billion decrease the previous year.

4. Medicine usage increased in 2013, with patients filling an average of 12 retail prescriptions, up 2 percent from 2012.

5. Average out-of-pocket costs for 57 percent of all retail prescriptions filled fell to less than $5 last year.

6. Overall, 30 percent of out-of-pocket medicine costs were associated with 2.3 percent of prescriptions, commonly high-cost specialty medications.

More Articles on Healthcare Spending:
Aligning Physicians Around Lowering the Cost of Care: UPMC's Approach
10 Statistics on Medicare Program Spending in 2012
5 Costliest Drugs for Medicare


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