Specialty drugs continue to skyrocket by FDA approvals as well as price. In 2018, high dollar specialty drugs accounted for 44 of the total 59 FDA-approved novel drugs.
NPR reported on a recent study which found that specialty drug prices rose 21 percent for oral medications and 13 percent for injectable drugs from 2008 to 2016 (based on list prices). Expensive new therapies entering the market have been the predominant factor in pushing specialty pharmaceutical costs as a whole skyward. Overall, their prices have risen 13 times faster than national inflation.
On a state level, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) just released its Prescription Drug Cost Transparency Report. One of its key findings stated that while specialty drugs accounted for only 1.6 percent of all prescription drugs, they accounted for over half (51.5 percent) of total annual spending on prescription drugs. In addition, specialty drugs made up a mere 1 percent of the top 25 most frequently prescribed drugs, and yet accounted for 25.4 percent of total spending.