Thursday, April 28, 2011

Money Spent on MS Drugs Continues to Rise, But Do You Know How Much?

Just a couple of weeks ago, Express Scripts (pharmacy benefits management company and mail-order pharmacy) released their 2010 Drug Trend Report.

Within this drug trend report was information specific to specialty medications such as those used for multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.  In 2010, the amount spent on specialty medications (through the Express Script pharmacy benefit management programs) increased 19.6% as compared to the amount spent in 2009.  The top three disease categories which use specialty medications (inflammatory conditions, multiple sclerosis, and cancer) made up 68.3% of the total amount spent on specialty drugs as compared to 66.7% in 2009 and 63.7% in 2008.  22.9% was spent on MS drugs alone.

The total amount spent on MS medications increased 25.4% from 2009-2010.  The amount had increased 34.4% from 2008-2009 and 18.3% from 2007-2008.  The result is an amount spent in 2010 on MS medications which is double what what spent in 2007.  Double in three years.  If forecasts are correct, the amount spent on MS drugs will more than double again in three years. 

Much of this increase is due to an increase in the price of each medication.  The price for Copaxone was increased 19% according to the 2010 Drug Trend Report, while utilization for MS drugs is actually decreasing slightly.  It is not expected that the introduction of new medications will cause prices to go lower and we’ve seen this already with the introduction of Gilenya in September 2010.  The market response to Gilenya’s $48,000 price tag was an increase in price of other MS medications, not a decrease (see The Rising Price of MS Disease-Modifying Medications)

Read this post in its entirety, including details in the lengthy commentary:
MS Medication Costs Increase 25.4% in 2010


  1. Big pharma is doing the same thing as big oil: taking advantage of the consumer. There may be help for dealing with the drug companies embodied in our new healthcare legislation.

    Canadians don't have the problems with the costs of medication that we have. Universal single payer anyone? I only hope someone somewhere understands that big pharma is thumbing its collective nose at us and finally does something about it.

    On to Big Oil.

  2. I was shocked to find out how much topamax had gone up as well...good heavens above!