Slideshow Top 5 health care cost drivers

Published
  • December 01 2015, 9:54am EST
6 Images Total

Healthcare spending and rising costs are having a big effect on employers. As new treatments are developed, many Americans with employer-sponsored insurance continue to see increases in premiums and out-of-pocket costs, according to the most recent data from IMS Health. Here are some of the biggest drivers of healthcare spending, according to the U.S. Medicines Report.


[Image credit: Fotolia]

Specialty drug spending

Specialty drugs account for one third of spending, driven in part by a wave of new treatments, IMS notes. Spending has increased almost $58 billion in the last five years, contributing to 73% of overall medicine spending growth in that time period.


[Image credit: Fotolia]

Content Continues Below


Hepatitis C

The biggest driver of specialty spending growth is for drugs used to treat hepatitis C, accounting for $12.3 billion in spending. More than 3 million people in the U.S. are infected with the hepatitis C virus, but low treatment rates have persisted due to the disease’s slow progression and intolerable side effects of older therapies. Most insurance plans limit patient costs with annual out-of-pocket maximums, IMS says, but price was a dominant theme in patient, payer and doctor discussions of treatment.


[Image credit: Fotolia]

Multiple sclerosis

MS spending increased close to 25% by the end of 2014. An estimated $13.9 billion was estimated, with $4.7 billion spent on new brand and oral therapies. Spending on injectable immunosuppressants, such as glatiramer acetate and natalizumab, increased 14% to $5.3 billion, but generic competition introduced this year could change spending costs. While patients with MS still face considerable burdens, IMS notes new medicines have brought a range of options in the past five years.


[Image credit: Fotolia]

Oncologics

Oncologics led all other drug classes in spending with $32.3 billion in spending. New treatment options developed in the past few years account for close to 30% of spending increases. Supportive care treatments such as erythropoeitins, anti-nauseants and bisphosphonates, while contribution little to spending growth, often allow patients to continue on other treatments.


[Image credit: Fotolia]

Content Continues Below


Diabetes

Diabetes spending increased 30.5% to $32.3 billion by the end of 2014. Insulins accounted for 63.3% of diabetes spending. Costs savings for insulin are on the horizon, though, as the first filings with the Food and Drug Administration for non-original biologic or biosimilar insulin therapies were made in 2014, and the first biosimilars are likely to launch in the U.S. in the next year.


[Image credit: Fotolia]