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Following Express Scripts, U.S. could save $5.8 billion on drugs

Staff Writer |
Between 2015 and 2016, nearly half of employers whose pharmacy benefits were managed by Express Scripts saw a year-over-year increase in per-person spending of less than 3.7 percent, and one-third of employers had a decrease in pharmacy spending.

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Express Scripts programs ensure patient access, minimize waste and maximize savings.

On average, employers who managed their pharmacy benefits more tightly with these programs held their 2016 increase in drug spending to 2.6 percent – significantly lower than less tightly managed pharmacy plans.

If all pharmacy plans across the country tightly managed their benefit, the United States could have saved an additional $5.8 billion on prescription drugs last year, while maintaining a clinically sound and affordable pharmacy benefit for American patients.

For the second consecutive year, patients of pharmacy plans managed by Express Scripts saw their total share of pharmacy costs decrease, despite using more prescriptions.

Patients paid 14.6 percent of the total cost of a prescription medication in 2016, compared to 14.8 percent in 2015, as plan management programs enabled many employers to hold the line on copayments and deductibles.

The average patient out-of-pocket cost for a 30-day prescription was $11.34 in 2016, roughly a dime more than in 2015.

Commercial plans managed by Express Scripts experienced only a 2.5 percent increase in unit costs across all prescription medications – nearly 22 percent lower than 2015, and more than 60 percent lower than the increase in prices, net of rebates, recently reported by major drug makers.

"Rebates do not raise drug prices, drug makers do," said Dr. Stettin. "As demonstrated by lower overall and unit cost trend in 2016, Express Scripts is effective in protecting employers from the effects of inflation by using our focused size and scale to secure significant rebates, which are returned to employers to reduce the overall cost of their pharmacy benefit."

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