Express Scripts has released its 2016 Drug Trend Report for the commercial market.
“For 2016, drug trend — the year-over-year change in spending — was a mere 3.8 percent for Express Scripts’ commercial plan sponsor customers,” Drug Channels Institute reported in a press release. “The Express Scripts data also highlight how drug prices were only part of the reason behind moderating drug spend. Contrary to the public rhetoric, increased utilization was a bigger influence than higher prices for both specialty and traditional drugs.”
Drug Channels also wrote about the year-over-year changes in drug spending and the high-level results of utilization vs. unit cost.
“Utilization was a significant driver of spending,” Drug Channels said. “A major component of spending growth can be attributed to the growth in the number of people being treated and the number of prescriptions being dispensed. For 2016, utilization was a major factor behind drug pricing. The 7.1 percent utilization increase for specialty drugs was the major factor behind the 13.3 percent spending increase.”
Drug Channels noted in its press release that Express Scripts did not examine the potential for higher medical costs associated with the controls and instead focused on drug trends and drug prices.