Drug expenditures, costs will rise moderately in 2014

Hospital drug costs will likely rise between 3 and 5 percent this year, according to data from the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

The report, "National Trends in Prescription Drug Expenditures and Projections for 2014," projects drug expenditures in the healthcare settings will also increase 3 to 5 percent. That compares with a decrease of 0.7 percent in the prior year ending last Sept. 30. Hospital drug expenditures will go up 1 to 3 percent in 2014.

For 2013, drug expenditures at non-federal hospitals rose 1.8 percent to $28.5 billion. At federal facilities, drug spending dropped by 13.7 percent.

The report cites a variety of factors for the projected increase in 2014, including the expiration of patents on existing products and new products. Expenditures for influenza-related drugs will also rise, while expenditures for powerful--and highly addictive--painkillers, such as oxycodone, will likely experience a fairly steep decline.

For 2013, the blood clot dissolver alteplase and filgrastim, which is used to fight infections in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, represented the fastest-growing expenditures for drugs in the hospital setting.

"Our projections for 2014 indicate a clear reversal of the downward growth in prescription drug expenditures we have seen over the last several years," Glen T. Schumock, one of the authors of the study, told News Medical. "Drug expenditure trends will remain dynamic, and so health systems will need to carefully monitor local drug use patterns."

Meanwhile, hospitals battle a nationwide drug shortage attributed primarily to generic drug manufacturer operational issues. The shortages cost hospitals nearly $230 million a year.

To learn more:
- read the News Medical article
- check out the study (.pdf)