Nationwide mail-order pharmacy giant Express Scripts recently revealed successful limits to 2016 drug spending — yielding a 27 percent decrease over that of 2015 — from St. Louis as it released its annual Drug Trend Report.
Express Scripts conveyed through a press release that the company consciously strove to keep a lid on costs, reporting a low, 2.5 percent increase in unit costs for all medications — a figure considered an accomplishment in the face of rampant industry price inflation.
Officials stated that the growth rate for pharmaceutical products totaled 3.8 percent last year. Dr. Glen Stettin, who serves as Express Scripts’ chief innovation officer, explained that drug costs were foremost among the firm’s concerns in 2016.
"In a year where the issue of high drug prices was number one on the list of payer and policy maker concerns, the data show that our solutions protected our clients and patients," Stettin said. "By practicing pharmacy smarter, we uniquely make medicine more affordable and accessible for patients … by driving down drug prices and ensuring appropriate use of clinically-proven medicine, while helping employers (to) remain competitive."
Patients' share of prescription drug costs declined for the second year in a row. Although brand-name prices were observed to jump almost 11 percent, Express Scripts managed to limit unit cost increases for employers to just 2.5 percent for all products concerned.
Additionally, one-third of all employers who subscribed to Express Scripts-managed pharmacy plans spent less on prescription drugs in 2016 than the previous year.
Specialty drugs, with higher costs overall, saw a 13.3 percent increase in 2016: a figure which the firm noted was the lowest ever since spending was first tracked in 2003. The company continues to place a value on savings and value.
"Express Scripts is a valued partner in our effort to make prescription drugs more affordable yet still accessible for our patients,” Johanna Melendez, assistant vice president of pharmacy at EmblemHealth, said. “Our recently implemented 'value' network is a great example of an innovative way they are helping us achieve our goals."