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CBO Releases Report on Nationwide Spending on Prescription Drugs

January 19, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
CBO Releases Report on Nationwide Spending on Prescription Drugs

The Congressional Budget Office released a report this week that examines trends in nationwide spending on prescription drugs over the 1980-2018 period and provides a detailed analysis of trends in spending, use and prices in the Medicare Part D and Medicaid programs over the 2009-2018 period. 

The report shows that the percentage of total spending on health care services and supplies has fallen, and that slower growth in spending is associated with the growing availability of generic drugs. There was, however, an exception between 2013 and 2015, as spending on prescription drugs increased sharply.

The findings also show that consumers’ use of prescription drugs increased over time, with greater use of generic drugs as a key factor of that increase.

When it comes to the prices of prescription drugs, the average net price of a prescription fell from $57 in 2009 to $50 in 2018 in the Medicare Part D program, and from $63 to $48 in the Medicaid program. This trend reflects the increased use of lower-cost generic drugs. 

The average net cost for brand-name prescription drugs increased over the same period from $149 to $353 in Medicare Part D and from $147 to $218 in Medicaid. 

“Whereas the average prices of brand-name drugs tend to rise over time, the opposite is true for generic drugs,” write the researchers in the report.

Alexa can be reached at alexa@thewellnews.com

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