Record US Drug Spend in 2014

April 16, 2015
News Update

April 16, 2015.

Data from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics reveals the U.S. healthcare system spent $373.9 billion on drugs in 2013 -13.1% more than in 2013 and the highest rate of spending growth since 2001, Forbes reports.

The IMS report, Medicines Use and Spending Shifts, states that 42 novel drugs were introduced last year, up from 36 in 2013 and the most new medicines launched in a single year since 2001. Spending on new brands also leaped by $20 billion.

Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics and a member of Pharmaceutical Executive’s Editorial Advisory Board, said: “Patients sought these treatments at rates that were higher than payers had expected and really anyone had expected, which is a reflection of an unmet need out there.” Aitken adds that 161,000 hepatits C patients started treatment in 2014 - “almost ten times as many as the year before.” Leading this field is Gilead’s controversial but wildly successful Sovaldi, which notched up $8.5 billion in U.S. sales in its first full year on the market.

Spending on specialty medicines, particularly in the oncology, diabetes and multiple sclerosis categories, increased by $54 billion over the five-year period ending in 2014, according to IMS. Forty-two per cent of drugs in the late stages of development are specialty medicines, as opposed to 33 per cent a decade ago.

Aitken warns, however, that the future won't so look bright, as the pace of patent expirations is expected to pick up again after a slow year for generic competition, and the impact of Obamacare prompting large employers to burden their workers with higher premiums and co-pays have yet to be fully felt.

See Murray Aitken present the report's findings here: https://youtu.be/CQ6QBtVVAjU