An analysis by Medco Health Solutions found that the number of children aged 19 and younger taking specialty drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has soared by 133% in the past 2 years, and spending on these medications has grown by 160%. The analysis, which compared the prescription data of children aged 19 and younger over the first 6 months of 2004 with the same time period in 2002, indicated that the rate of increase of spending on RA drugs for children has exceeded that of human growth hormone therapy.
Furthermore, spending on RA specialty medications is now higher than for any other biotech category. For example, for the first time, RA drugs have surpassed multiple sclerosis drugs. RA specialty medications have also shown the greatest increase in costs, making up 44% of the drug trend for the whole specialty category in 2004.