Managed Care

Chronic disease treatments contribute significantly to spending growth

Over the next three years, about 80 percent of drug spending will be driven by drugs in six broad therapeutic classes, according to the 2007 Drug Trend Report issued by Medco. The cardiovascular and central nervous system categories will account for almost half of the spending growth. Within these broad categories, nine specific drug classes — including diabetes drugs, lipid-lowering drugs, and antihypertensives — will account for two-thirds of spending growth over the next three years.

Medco expects that drug spending by plan sponsors will increase between 9 percent and 12 percent per year over the next three years.

These projections are computed at the average wholesale price level, unadjusted for changes in discounts, rebates, cost sharing, and federal subsidies that might occur. Prescription drug purchases account for about 10 percent of the national health care dollar, according to the report, and they account for nearly 10 percent of the projected growth in national health care costs in 2006.

Top therapeutic categories that will drive spending

According to Medco, these are the six therapeutic categories that are likely to account for most spending growth between 2007 and 2009. The data are expressed as a percentage of the total projected increase in plan cost.

The role of chronic disease

Therapeutic agents to treat chronic diseases are likely to drive the majority of spending growth between 2007 and 2009. Data are expressed as a percentage of the total projected increase in plan cost.

Source: Medco

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