U.S. drug prices are about four times higher than the combined average prices in 11 similar countries, according to a report from the House Ways and Means Committee. The report, A Painful Pill to Swallow: U.S. vs. International Prescription Drug Prices is based on 2018 pricing for 79 drugs sold in the U.S. and 11 other countries.
“This report reveals just how unfairly high prescription drug prices are in the United States compared to prices in other, similar nations,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal in a press release.
With one exception, individual drug prices in the U.S. ranged from 70% higher, for Lantus Solostar, a type of insulin, to 4,833% higher, for Dulera, an asthma medication, than the combined mean price in the other 11 countries. Provista expects drug prices to increase even more. While the legislature works to find a solution to escalating costs, Provista offers immediate relief through its private label drug program Novaplus®.
Hundreds of Billions of Dollars Spent on Prescription Drugs in U.S.
The U.S. spent $457 billion in 2016 on combined retail (pharmacy) and non-retail (dispensed in physician offices) drugs, according to the report. Medicare accounted for $130 billion of that spending, which breaks down to $99.5 billion for Part D pharmacy drugs and $29.1 billion for Part B physician-administered drugs. The rise in spending for specialty drugs has driven the increase in spending for Medicare Part D and Medicaid.
Total Medicaid spending grew 2.9% to $581.9 billion in 2017. The report goes on to say that between 2011 and 2016, drug spending nationwide grew 27%, which means drug prices increased more than 2.5 times the rate of inflation.
A 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 79% of Americans believe the cost of drugs is unreasonable, and 26% worry they can’t afford the drugs they need. And there’s more bad news. The Drug Price Forecast from Vizient, Provista’s contract partner, predicts a 4.57% increase in the average price next year for the drugs used by its membership.
This increase translates to more than $3 billion in additional spend by its members. The good news? Proposed legislation looks to tackle the problem, and Provista offers cost savings and other pharmaceutical benefits to members.