Well in excess of the U.S. inflation rate, overall prescription drug prices rose by more than 10 percent in 2015. According to a report released this month by health care data company, Truveris, the country is in its third year of double-digit increases for prescription drug costs.
The report found the price of brand name drugs increased by 14.77 percent, specialty drugs by 9.21 percent, and even generic drugs – which had tended to become cheaper over time – rose 2.93 percent. Truveris found nearly every class of drugs experienced an increase in price. However, some drugs treating specific conditions saw higher increases than others. For example, drugs treating the symptoms of menopause rose by 34 percent, those treating gout by 33 percent and medications for erectile dysfunction by 20 percent.
Overall, the price increases for prescription drugs were similar to those in 2014 when a 10.9 percent increase occurred for medications across nearly every drug class. The proliferation of specialty drugs and price increases for existing medications are also attributed to a spike of more than 12 percent for the federal government’s prescription drug spending in 2014 ($297.7 billion) – a calculation released in December of 2015. Federal officials have predicted annual spending on medications will continue to increase by 6.3 percent on average through 2024.
The good news? Public outcry regarding prescription drug price increases due to recent media exposure is sure to reach the halls of Congress and 2016 presidential campaigns. Many drug companies are becoming more sensitive to the issue of drug costs and are looking to stay out of the media spotlight. Truveris reports a slowing of price increases in the last quarter of 2015 – one it is hopeful will continue into 2016.