Each month, we round up the latest FDA approvals and regulations to give you an expert take on what you need to know.
Prescription spending in 2017
Prescription spending increased to $453B in 2017 with total growth at 1.7%. This data is according to information reported by IQVIA. Driving that spending is specialty pharmacy at a growth trend of 9.4% while traditional spend is declining at a rate of -4.0%. Specialty drug spend is now at 43.3% of medication spend.
This may be higher than what you are seeing in the PBM pharmacy spend reports, as the definition of specialty can vary. Regardless of the actual definition the PBM uses for specialty, specialty is driving the growth in spending. This trend is not new and is not going to change in the next few years due to the new drug pipeline having so many potential specialty products as well as some major traditional products encountering generic competition.
Change is coming to the migraine category
The migraine category is beginning to get increased attention.
Currently the category is dominated by generic products referred to as “triptans.” These products have been used to treat migraine patients for going on two decades and with the availability of generics, the disease state has not been a focus recently.
That could change based on the potential for new market entries. There are 3 products in the new category for treating migraine known as CGRP inhibitors which may be approved by the FDA by the end of 2018. These first three CGRP inhibitors are subcutaneous injections with oral formulations expected to follow in late-2019 and 2020. The exact pricing for these products is still to be determined however considering they are entering into a market dominated by generics, costs will see an increase. Expect utilization management programs to be applied to these products as soon as they hit the market.
Opioid prescriptions fell 10% last year
There is no argument about the severity of the opioid crisis in America. According to a recent report from IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, there is some data that may suggest a a shift in the crisis. This report suggests a 10% drop in retail prescriptions for opioids in 2017 back to where prescribing levels were 10 years ago.
This crisis impacts everyone and it is taking a combined effort across the entire healthcare industry to address. This data suggests that all the prescriber education, PBM program implementation, and action by the FDA may be beginning to have some positive impact. We have a long way to go but this is a step in the right direction.