IMS Institute Reports on Drug Spending

Key findings from the IMS Institute report on use and cost of medicines in 2013 were:

  • Total spending on U.S. medicines increased 1% on a real per capita basis in 2013, while the use of healthcare services overall rose for the first time in three years.
  • Total dollars spent on medications reached $329.2 billion in 2013, up 3.2% on a nominal basis and a rebound from the 1% decline in 2012. According to IMS, the primary drivers were the reduced impact of patent expires, price increases, higher spending on innovative new medicines, and greater use of the healthcare system by patients.
  • While hospital visits rose, the real news is where the change happened: emphasis on outpatient and a higher proportion of specialty visits.
  • Patients moved from high-cost sites of care, like emergency departments, to low-cost sites of care, namely the practice setting; yet they turned more to high-cost specialists rather than primary-care physicians.