Hike in Drug List Prices Has Downstream Effect on Patient, Payer Costs

Even though drug manufacturer discounts and rebates have been rising, when wholesale list prices for prescription drugs more than doubled over a period of seven years, that still triggered large increases in patient out-of-pocket costs and insurer payments, according to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open. The researchers analyzed pharmacy claims for five patent-protected specialty drugs and nine brand-name drugs associated with the highest total expenditures by commercial insurers in 2014 and found that their average wholesale price (AWP) increased by 129% from 2010 to 2016. Median insurer expenditures on the 14 drugs analyzed grew 64%, while median patient out-of-pocket costs went up 53% during that time.

NOTE: All results have been adjusted to 2016 dollars using the Consumer Price Index.

SOURCE: “Changes in Drug List Prices and Amounts Paid by Patients and Insurers,” JAMA Network Open. 2020;3(12):e2028510.

© 2024 MMIT
Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong has been producing infographics and data stories on employer-sponsored insurance, public health insurance programs and prescription drug coverage for AIS Health’s Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits since 2018. She also manages AIS Health’s annual executive compensation database for top insurers and Blue Cross and Blue Shield affiliates. Before joining AIS Health, she interned at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting.

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