Prescription Drug Trends

The Kaiser Family Foundation has posted its June 2006 report on prescription drug trends. “The updated fact sheet shows that while spending on prescription drugs had been rising more rapidly than for other types of health care, its rate of growth has slowed somewhat recently and now is rising at about the same pace as spending for hospital and physician services.” Presumably that trend will continue due to the recent spate of expiring patents on iconic brand name drugs such as Zocor and Zoloft.

Fun facts to know and tell from that report:

  • In 2005, about three-quarters (74%) of workers with employer-sponsored coverage had a cost-sharing arrangement with 3 or 4 tiers, over 2½ times the proportion in 2000 27%).
  • Co-payments for nonpreferred drugs (those not included on a formulary or preferred drug list) have doubled from an average of $17 in 2000 to $35 in 2005.
  • Copayments for preferred drugs (those included on a formulary or preferred drug list, such as a brand name drug without a generic substitute) increased by 69%, from $13 in 2000 to $22 in 2005.