Hospitals will see moderate drug price increases

A new study concludes hospitals are expected to see just a modest bump in their drug costs for 2013, Medical Xpress reported.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, concluded that hospitals will experience a 1.5 percent increase in drug costs during 2013, down from increases in recent years, which have averaged more than 2 percent.

"In the aggregate, drug expenditure growth is moderating, especially in the hospital setting," according to the report's principal author, James M. Hoffman, medication outcomes and safety officer at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN, Medical Xpress reported. Hoffman credited that to the wider use of generic drugs.

Altogether, the use of drugs in non-VA hospitals declined 0.6 percent for the one-year period that ended in September 2012, according to the study. Hospitals spend just under $28 billion on drugs during that period, representing 8.6 percent of all pharmaceutical expenditures in the U.S.

However, not all drug categories are seeing their costs moderate. Cancer drugs, for example, continue to rise. "We have reached a new threshold where a course of treatment for some new cancer therapies can cost more than $100,000, which illustrates the growing challenge oncology drug costs present to hospitals and clinics," Hoffman told Medical Xpress.

To learn more:
-read the Medical Xpress article
- view the study (.pdf)