Prescription Drug Spending Jumps to All Time High in 2014 – Brian Wu

According to a report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics , Americans spent more money on drugs than they ever have before with spending jumping by 13% to $374 billion, driven by innovative but expensive new drugs designed to treat Hepatitis C.

The new hepatitis C drugs accounted for more than $11 billion of the spending with the influx of millions of people newly insured under the Affordable Care Act was less of a factor than originally expected accounting for only $1 billion.

“This was an outstanding year, really a once-in-a-lifetime year,” said Michael Kleinrock, director of research development for IMS Health. “It was the largest dollar growth in a single year we’ve ever measured. This is a huge amount of extra spending.”

The bulk of the spending was from people seeking breakthrough new treatments for Hepatitis C. This new treatment promised a cure but came at a hefty price tag of more than $80,000 per patient.

“Harvoni and Sovaldi offer a cure at a price that reduces hepatitis C treatment costs now and will deliver significant savings to the healthcare system over the long term,” Gilead Sciences spokeswoman Cara Miller said. “We believe the prices of Harvoni and Sovaldi reflect the value of the medicines.”

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