Drug Price Forecast Estimates an Increase in Hospital Drug Spending in 2021
Pharmacy Times® interviewed Steven Lucio, vice president of Pharmacy Solutions at Vizient, on a drug price forecast that estimates an increase in hospital drug spending in 2021 in light of the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic this year.
The discussion included how much hospital drug spending will increase in 2021 and why this is expected to occur, how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected drug spending, and whether anything is helping to manage the impact of price increases on hospital budgets.
Lucio explained that even during the pandemic, there have been factors that have helped to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on hospital budgets.
“One of the biggest ones has been the introduction and the continued growth of what are called biosimilars. Now, people are likely very familiar with the concept of generic drugs, competitors for chemically synthesized medications. However, one of the biggest categories of spend over the last decade has been medications that derive from living organisms,” Lucio said.
Lucio noted that the FDA did not have the authority to create and approve competing products, but that biosimilars are highly similar versions, hence their name.
“Biosimilars are now in the market, they're continuing to expand, and because of those, they have really limited the extent to which we've seen price increases for some of the very commonly prescribed medications that really occupy the highest spend for our membership and for health care as a whole. So, the continued introduction of biosimilars, as well as the generic growth and the introduction of competition of generic medications, has continued to help offset some of those increases. But, as we've seen, it doesn't offset it to the complete extent.”
Lucio also discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has reframed the relevance and importance of acute care capacity, the effects the top 10 COVID-19 medications are expected to have on spending, and how pediatric pharmaceutical spending is expected to change in 2021.