Wonder why specialty drugs are likely to account for 50% of pharmacy spend by 2018?
Here are three reasons:
Supply and demand. Only 3.6% of the commercial population use specialty drugs so the market for these drugs is very small. On the other hand, the development costs are very high, resulting in high costs per patient.
No generics. Specialty drugs are often too complex to be produced under generic requirements.
LImitations on price increases once on the market. Manufacturers set initial prices high because regulations limit price increases on the drugs are on the market.
What can you do? Here are three suggestions:
Doctors often prefer the drugs they both sell to patients and administer at their office. Check other options that may be available to see if they are less expensive.
Require pre-authorization of specialty drugs to be sure they are being used appropriately.
Consider home administration, or even physician office administration, vs. hospital administration of the drug.
Read more from PBS and the recent study published in Health Affairs.