Tags: drugs | costs | rising

Half Million Americans Take More Than $50,000 Worth of Drugs a Year

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 04:39 PM

Rising drug costs have hit a significant minority of Americans particularly hard. A new analysis shows more than a half-million Americans each took $50,000 or more worth of prescription drugs last year.

Those costs are tied to pricey cancer drugs, expensive new cures for hepatitis, and designer medications that are driving U.S. prescription costs to record highs.

The findings, by pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, indicates those paying most for drugs are those with chronic conditions that would otherwise kill them, NBC News reports.

"Among patients whose drug costs reached at least $100,000, more than one-third were treated for at least 10 conditions and more than 60 percent were taking at least 10 different prescription medications," the report reads.

Among the findings:

• The number of Americans prescribed $100,000 or more worth of medications nearly tripled from 47,000 to 139,000 last year.
• Anti-cancer drugs, expensive new hepatitis C medications, and made-to-order treatments known as compounded therapies accounted for two-thirds of the costs for those spending $100,000 or more a year,.
• Gilead Science's hep C drug Sovaldi, which can cure the liver-destroying virus, was the most costliest medication identified — costing $84,000 for the three-month drug course.
• Insurance plans covered more than 98 percent of the costs for patients whose drugs cost $100,000, which may be partly contributing to overall insurance premium hikes and drug costs.
• Last year, Americans paid an average of 13.5 percent of their total medication costs, down from 14.9 percent in 2013.
• About 90 percent of patients with drug costs of $50,000 used specialty medications for complex conditions; more than a third were treated for 10 or more different medical conditions.

"The profile emerging from this research shows these patients are overwhelmingly taking specialty medications, and have multiple comorbidities, prescriptions, and prescribers," said Glen Stettin, M.D., senior vice president for clinical research at Express Scripts.

For its analysis, Express Scripts used data from 31.5 million insured Americans covered by commercial insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid.

© 2017 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Health-News
Rising drug costs have hit some Americans particularly hard. A new analysis shows more than a half-million Americans each took $50,000 or more worth of prescription drugs last year.
drugs, costs, rising
331
2015-39-13
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 04:39 PM
Newsmax Inc.
 

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved