CVS Caremark: People Spent More on Specialty Medicines in 2013

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

CVS Caremark Corp. (NYSE:CVS) released its annual “Insights” report Thursday in a press release. The report reviews drug trends identifies key issues in pharmacy care.

The report found that the prescription drug trend — the measure of growth in prescription drug spending per member per month — rose 3.8 percent in 2013. CVS Caremark’s press release notes that this is in comparison with a nearly flat growth the year previous; in 2012, the prescription drug trend grew by only about 0.1 percent.

The report speculates that the growth was driven by significant price inflation for branded drugs, as well as specialty drug and generic drugs; the report also notes that due to the gradually recovering economy, more Americans have the money to fill prescriptions than in previous years.

The largest contributor to the rising prescription drug trend in 2013 was specialty medicines; spending on specialty drugs grew an astounding 15.6 percent in the last year. Examples of specialty medicines include any drug that’s been developed to treat a more complex, specific disease; multiple sclerosis medications, hepatitis C medications, and cancer drugs all fall under this category; CVS Caremark notes that specialty medicines now account for nearly 22.5 percent of total drug spending by members, a more than 10 percent increase over the course of twelve months.

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