Hospitals will spend 3.29% more on drugs in 2021, Vizient projects

Hospitals will spend 3.29 percent more on drugs next year, group purchasing organization Vizient projected in its July 2020 Drug Price Forecast

The increase in drug spend is driven both by disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other enduring pharmaceutical trends, such as inflation rates for specialty drugs. 

The 3.29 percent figure includes inpatient and non-acute environments, Vizient said. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extraordinary impact on hospitals and health systems. As a result, any increase in pricing, even a modest one, makes the challenge of economic recovery even more difficult," said Dan Kistner, PharmD, Vizient's group senior vice president of pharmacy solutions. 

Other key takeaways from the report: 

  1. Pediatric pharmaceutical costs are rising as a result of the targeting of rare diseases that require specialty or orphan drugs.

  2. Continued introduction of generics and an expanding catalog of biosimilars have served to blunt some of the impact of price increases on hospital budgets.

  3. The top 10 drugs related to COVID-19 saw a combined spend increase of $200 million in March and April. Hydroxychloroquine saw a 1,132 percent increase in spend in those months.

  4. Specialty drugs continue to drive price increases. Vizient projects a 4.47 percent inflation rate for specialty drugs next year, as well as an ongoing surge in demand for specialty drugs during the pandemic.

  5. Home infusion therapies are expected to increase during the pandemic.

  6. Hospital spending on vaccines decreased substantially in March and April. Spending on meningococcal group B vaccines decreased 49 percent, and spending on the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine declined 56 percent.  

Find the full report here

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