Steadily rising pharmaceutical costs vexed employees, businesses and insurers in the 1990s. A new report from Merck-Medco Managed Care shows annual double digit increases in prescription drug costs, including a 15.9% increase in 1999. The report details the growth of the total cost of prescription drugs, or "drug spend," and the rate of the cost increase, or "drug trend."
Pharmacy benefit costs increase because of higher utilization and a pattern toward newer, more expensive drugs replacing older drugs, often generics, the report says.
See the print publication for the following charts:
- Prescription drug expenditures
- Annual increase in prescription drug expenditures
- More than half of the cost increase in recent years came from new drugs
- Almost two-thirds of the cost increase in recent years came from higher utilization
- The pace of new drug introductions has increased
- The sickest people have the highest drug costs