In 2019, retail prescription medicine prices declined by 0.4%, on average, according to National Health Expenditures (NHE) data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published recently in Health Affairs. While retail prescription medicine spending grew 5.7% that same year, this increase was due to more patients getting the medicines they need, not higher prices.
Other key findings include:
- In 7 of the last 10 years, retail medicine spending grew more slowly than total health care spending and spending on retail medicines accounted for less than 10% of total health care spending growth over the past decade.
- Since 2000, retail medicine spending has grown, on average, 3.9% per year, below the average annual growth rate of spending on hospital care (4.5%) and total health care spending (4.3%).
- Hospital spending increased 6.2% in 2019 reaching $1.2 trillion and continuing to account for nearly one third of total health care spending.
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(Source: Katie Koziara; PhrmA; January 13, 2021)