CVS Reports "Dramatic" Drop in Prescription Drug Trend

February 23, 2016

February 23, 2016.

CVS Health has reported that prescription drug trend, a measure of growth in prescription spending, for CVS Health pharmacy benefit management (PBM) clients dropped from 11.8 percent in 2014 to 5 percent in 2015.

As well as brand, specialty and generic price inflation driving the trend, CVS reports that its proactive pharmacy management strategies were also "successful in mitigating the impact of rising drug costs in today's highly volatile prescription drug market".

Price inflation in non-specialty brands outweighed all other trend drivers. As a driver, specialty overall, including the impact of new launches and increases in price and utilization, had less impact than inflation of brands in high volume categories such as drugs used to treat diabetes.  

CVS Caremark, the company's PBM, added that clients using its value formulary in 2015 "saved $20 million or more depending on the number of plan members they support".

Prescription drug trend is the measure of growth in prescription spending per member per month (PMPM). Trend calculations take into account the effects of drug price, drug utilization and the mix of branded versus generic drugs as well as the positive effect of negotiated rebates on overall trend.