Specialty to overtake traditional drugs in five years, report finds

Artemetrx releases 2013 Specialty Drug Spend Study

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Specialty drug spend will surpass traditional drug spend by 2018 for commercial plan sponsors, according to a new study.

Healthcare research firm Artemetrx announced Wednesday the release of its 2013 Specialty Drug Trend Study, finding that specialty drugs already represent 30% of total drug spend after the specialty claims covered under the medical benefit are fully captured, compared with the 15% to 20% frequently reported for specialty drugs as a percentage of total drug spend.

"Given these findings, plan sponsors need visibility into their entire specialty drug spend, not just that residing under the pharmacy benefit," Artemetrx president Brenda Motheral said. "When specialty medication use goes unmeasured, plans cannot effectively manage their specialty benefit."

The study's researchers forecasted that total specialty drug spend will grow from $290 per member per year to $845 by 2018 due to a strong drug pipeline, price inflation and an expanded number of approved uses for drugs.

"Specialty spend is going to overtake traditional drug spend quicker than most plan sponsors realize due to the siloed reporting of specialty drugs that currently exists in the marketplace," Motheral said. "Opportunities to better manage specialty drugs abound, but they are often unique from those used for non-specialty drugs."

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