ASG Perspectives

Specialty Drugs: Typical or Trend?

Friday, April 08, 2016

We’ve been noticing an increase in the costs of specialty drugs for various diseases, and how the phenomenon is beginning to make a real impact on the cost of health insurance programs among businesses of all sizes.

It’s been reported that specialty pharmaceuticals today represent one of the fastest growing areas in health care, with these medications accounting for approximately 25% of total drug spending in the U.S.

Yet the situation is becoming a lot like a train that’s moving too fast – the costs of some of these drugs have begun barreling down the health care track and are about to get completely out of control.

No indication of slowing down

Last year, 17 of the 25 drugs approved by the FDA were specialty medications; already this year, the FDA has approved nine specialty drugs.

The agency is expected to continue approving specialty prescriptions in higher volumes, with some estimates predicting 70% of top-selling drugs to be specialty medications within the next four years.

With some experts predicting these drug expenditures to quadruple in the next six years, companies are more and more frequently looking to the flexibility of self-funded options as a way to lower and/or limit rising medication costs while still providing health care benefits to their employees.

Because our mutual goal is to ensure your employer clients have maximum liability in place, be assured we are watching the situation closely form the carrier side.

We hope you'll e-mail us at with any concerns or thoughts you have about this topic.

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Interested in more? Check out this report

We recently came across a PBS Newshour post on “How the growing cost of drugs might affect your employer’s health plan.”

The post says: More than half of large U.S. employers will more tightly manage their employees’ use of prescription drugs next year, according to a new survey. The increased expenses from costly drugs threaten to push some employer health care plans over a threshold that will make them subject to a high tax.

Click here to view the report.



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