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National Trends in Prescription Drug Expenditures and Projections for 2019

Pharmaceutical expenditure was looked at in this study using IPD Analytics pipeline drug data as a source to predict future potential growth in drug spending. It was forecasted that overall prescription drug spending would increase by 4 - 6%, while hospital and clinic drug expenditures were expected to rise 11 - 13% in 2019.


Various Authors |

Purpose Historical trends and factors likely to influence future pharmaceutical expenditures are discussed, and projections are made for drug spending in 2019 in nonfederal hospitals, clinics, and overall (all sectors).

Methods Drug expenditure data through calendar year 2018 were obtained from the IQVIA National Sales Perspectives database and analyzed. New drug approvals, patent expirations, and other factors that may influence drug spending in hospitals and clinics in 2019 were also reviewed. Expenditure projections for 2019 for nonfederal hospitals, clinics, and overall (all sectors) were made through a combination of quantitative analyses and expert opinion.

Results U.S. prescription sales in calendar year 2018 totaled $476.2 billion, a 5.5% increase from 2017 spending. The top 3 drugs by expenditures were adalimumab ($19.1 billion), insulin glargine ($9.3 billion), and etanercept ($8.0 billion). Prescription expenditures in nonfederal hospitals totaled $35.8 billion, a 4.8% increase from 2017. Expenditures in clinics in 2018 increased by 13.0% to $80.5 billion. The increase in spending in nonfederal hospitals was largely driven by new products and increased utilization of existing products. The list of the top 25 drugs by expenditures in nonfederal hospitals and clinics was dominated by specialty drugs.

Conclusion We predict continued moderate growth of 4–6% in overall drug expenditures (across the entire U.S. market). We expect the clinic sector to continue to experience high (11–13%) growth in drug spending in 2019. Finally, for nonfederal hospitals we anticipate growth in the range of 3–5%. These estimates are at the national level. Health-system pharmacy leaders should carefully examine local drug utilization patterns to determine their own organization’s anticipated spending in 2019.


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