Drug Spending Trends

Increased spending on prescription drugs is often attributed to higher prices for existing and new drugs. However, increases in spending also are determined by the volume of prescription drugs taken by patients, which is defined as the number of prescriptions and the number of days for which a given prescription provides therapy. Research supported by the National Pharmaceutical Council developed the methods needed to identify the specific price and volume factors responsible for increased drug spending. This research found that increased use of prescription drugs due to better diagnosis of disease, new medical recommendations for treatment, and in some cases, newer, more effective medicines may play a larger role than increases in price in explaining increased spending trends.