Increase in Brand-Name Drug Cost Mainly Due to Existing Drugs

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The costs of oral and injectable brand-name drugs increased from 2008 to 2016.
The costs of oral and injectable brand-name drugs increased from 2008 to 2016.

HealthDay News — The costs of oral and injectable brand-name drugs increased from 2008 to 2016, with most of the increase due to existing drugs, while new drugs accounted for cost increases in specialty and generic drugs, according to a study published in the January issue of Health Affairs.

Inmaculada Hernandez, Pharm.D., Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues quantified the contribution of new versus existing drugs to the changes in costs of oral and injectable drugs used in the outpatient setting in 2008 to 2016. The authors utilized pricing data from First Databank and pharmacy claims from the UPMC Health Plan.

The researchers noted a 9.2 and 15.1 percent increase annually in the costs of oral and injectable brand-name drugs, respectively, which was mainly driven by existing drugs. Costs increased 20.6 and 12.5 percent, respectively, for oral and injectable specialty drugs, with new drugs accounting for 71.1 and 52.4 percent of these increases, respectively. The costs of oral and injectable generic drugs increased by 4.4 and 7.3 percent, respectively, and these increases were driven by new drug entry.

"These estimates demonstrate the important contribution of existing product price inflation on the rising cost of drugs and lend support to policy efforts aimed at controlling price inflation," the authors write.

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