Study: U.S. experiences rapid growth in specialty drug spending

Specialty drugs more than doubled as a share of retail fills for the overall U.S. population between 2010 and 2017, according to a study using various sources and published in Health Affairs, growing from 1% to 2.3%.

Despite representing a small percentage of overall prescriptions, spending on these drugs accounted for approximately half of the country’s total spending on retail, mail-order and provider-administered drugs in 2018; however, the study noted that the cost of these drugs are difficult to track due to the use of manufacturer rebates.

Net spending was divided at 31.5% for all retail and mail-order drugs for Medicare Part D, 37.8% for Medicaid and 43.6% of private drug spending.