Drug spending in the US is… down?

Well, for some cohorts, yes, drug spending in 2017 was down. Holy schneikies. What’s more is that, according to the Express Scripts 2017 Drug Trend Report, drug spending increased by only 1.5% for their commercial plan sponsors and it declined for nearly half of commercial payers. For a really good synopsis of the report, go here. In what we can only assume will be a politically unpopular analysis, Drug Channels points out that specialty drug costs are not the problem because “Specialty unit costs grew by 3.2% for commercial payers, while utilization grew by 8.1%. In other words, spending increased because more people were treated, and more prescriptions were dispensed. That’s not a drug price problem.” Son of a … But it’s not all sunshine and roses, as 6.3% of people spent more than $1,000 out-of-pocket for prescription drugs in 2017. Sorry for the buzzkill.