Prescription drug spending slows in 2016: 5 things to know

Spending on prescription drugs in the U.S. slowed in 2016, following a two-year surge, according to an analysis from CMS.

Here are five things to know.

1. Prescription drug spending grew by 1.3 percent in 2016.

2. In comparison, spending on prescription drugs grew 12.4 percent in 2014. In 2015, prescription drug spending increased 8.9 percent.

3. Prescription drugs accounted for 10 percent, or $328.6 billion, of total healthcare spending in 2016.

4. CMS attributes the two-year period of rapid growth, between 2014 and 2015, to increased spending on novel medicines and stark price increases for existing brand-name drugs. In particular, CMS cites the novel drugs used to treat hepatitis C, whose prices have been widely-criticized.

5. The stalling growth rate in 2016 is a result of fewer novel drug approvals, slower growth in brand-name drug spending as the cost of hepatitis C drugs have decreased.

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