IMS: US prescription drug spending jumped 13 pct. in 2014

AP News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2015 12:02 AM

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — U.S. spending on prescription drugs soared by 13 percent last year to $374 billion.

The increase was driven primarily by costly breakthrough medicines, price hikes and a surge from millions of people newly insured under the Affordable Care Act.

A report Tuesday from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found a record 4.3 billion prescriptions were filled in 2014. Many were inexpensive generics going to patients now insured through Medicaid in states that expanded eligibility.

The higher spending was mostly due to the many recent drugs costing tens of thousands of dollars for a year or course of treatment.

Last year saw an unusually high 42 novel medicines launched, 18 for rare diseases. Ten new drugs were designated breakthrough therapies, for conditions including multiple sclerosis, various cancers and hepatitis C.