Dollars and Sense: Putting Specialty Drug Costs in Perspective

While specialty drugs constitute less than 1 percent of all U.S. prescriptions, they accounted for more than a quarter of the country’s total pharmacy costs in 2013. Although they represent an extraordinary lifeline for patients in need, they are poised to drive up national drug spending at a rapid rate – and entities across our health care system will bear the cost. The combination of the clinical power and high cost of specialty drugs has made their use a critical challenge for health plans, including members of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP).

Our informational brief is intended to educate key stakeholders about specialty drug costs and provide them the information needed to begin addressing the issue. It was released in October 2014.

House Briefing on Drug Costs

On October 7, ACHP held a briefing on Capitol Hill to provide insights into how the costs of specialty pharmaceuticals are affecting care and costs across the country. More than 70 individuals from the Hill and health care organizations joined us in a standing-room only presentation. The expert panel offered perspectives from key stakeholders:

  • Bobby Clark, senior manager of PwC Health Research Institute
  • Steve Marciniak, R.Ph., associate vice president of pharmacy programs at Priority Health
  • Sharon Levine, M.D., associate executive medical director at The Permanente Medical Group, Inc.
  • Shari Davidson, vice president of National Business Group on Health