Express Scripts says drug spending rose 5.2 percent in 2015

A report by St. Louis-based prescription benefit manager Express Scripts shows that spending on prescription drugs for insured Americans rose about 5 percent last year, driven by both greater medication use and higher prices for specialty medicines.

The report also found the average price of brand-name drugs already on the market increased by 16.2 percent in 2015 and has jumped 98.2 percent since 2011. One-third of brand-name prescription drugs had price increases exceeding 20 percent last year.

Those price hikes came despite intense criticism from patients and politicians, as well as congressional probes into the pharmaceutical industry’s pricing policies.

The data are based on prescription claims processed by Express Scripts, which handles pharmacy benefits for about 85 million Americans with insurance, provided by employers, local and state governments, unions and Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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