1. Trends & External Forces

Who Will Pay for Prescription Drugs in 2030? (Hint: It’s Us) (rerun)

This week, I’m rerunning some popular posts while I prepare for today’s live video webinar: Specialty Drugs Update: Trends, Controversies, and Outlook .

Note that the forecasts below did not account for policy changes that could further reduce pharmaceuticals’ share of U.S. healthcare spending.

Click here to see the original post from April 2022.


The econowonks at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released the latest projections for U.S. spending on healthcare. (See links below.) These data provide our first official look at post-pandemic U.S. healthcare spending.

As you will see below, outpatient prescription drugs dispensed by retail and mail pharmacies are projected to remain a small share (8.4%) of total U.S. healthcare spending. What’s more, taxpayers—via Medicare and Medicaid—will continue to crowd out the private insurance market. One bright spot: consumers will account for an ever-smaller share of drug spending.

Thus, the government actuaries expect that pharmaceuticals will not be the key driver of U.S. healthcare spending growth. Will someone tell our elected officials?

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