CVS Health Report Focuses on Overall Drug Trends in 2021

The health care company’s analysis evaluates non-specialty and specialty drugs, biosimilars, medication affordability, and the cost of administering COVID-19 vaccines.

CVS Health’s latest Drug Trend Report for the first 3 quarters of 2021 focuses on non-specialty and specialty drugs, biosimilars, medication affordability, and the cost of administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Overall, CVS Health found that the overall drug trend was 2.4% for commercial pharmacy benefit managers, with 35.9% of clients having a negative trend.

CVS Health also reported that about 84.9% of clients had trends less than 10%, and 67.7% of clients had trends less than 10% for 2 years.

Specialty medications drove about 54% of overall drug spending, with an industry-low specialty-drug trend of about 5.8%. Additionally, autoimmune conditions contributed to more than half of all specialty-drug use.

For specialty drugs, about 35.9% of clients had a negative trend, with 65.3% of clients having a specialty trend of less than 10% and about 26.3% having less than 10% for 2 years.

Digital infrastructure and electronic health records (EHRs) helped clients in the specialty-medication area throughout the duration of their therapies, according to the report.

Approximately 92% of individuals were enrolled in interactive digital communications, which included opportunities for support in adherence and answer questions about their health, according to the report.

Approximately 75% of individuals in the specialty space were connected to CVS Health through EHRs.

CVS Health also reported that biosimilars have helped reduce the cost of specialty medications.

For instance, between2018 and 2022, the cost of infliximab (Remicade, Janssen) decreased to approximately $347 from $810 to $347 because of infliximab-abda (Renflexis, Organon) and infliximab-dyyb (Inflectra, Pfizer) , biosimilars of Remicade that entered the market.

Since 2015, 32 biosimilars have been approved, and 14 are expected in 2022, according to the report

Autoimmune treatments accounted for about 54% of specialty-use trends, with asthma and atopic dermatitis accounting for about 36%, oncology about 6%, and hormonal therapies and infertility each at 2%.

The growth of the use of drugs in the asthma and atopic dermatitis and autoimmune areas stemmed from use, not price increases, with asthma and atopic dermatitis drugs and autoimmune drug prices increasing by approximately 3.8% and 0.9%, respectively. However, usage grew by 34.6% and 8.8%, respectively.

For non-specialty medications, the overall trend was negative. However, the trends for diabetes, migraine, and obesity medication increased because of newer treatments entering the market.

Migraine medications contributed to approximately 2% of non-specialty trends, while diabetes treatments accounted for 1.9% and obesity for 0.7%.

CVS Health also reported that plan members spent, on average, about $9.71 per month on out-of-pocket medications.

Additionally, approximately 72.1% of plan members spent less than $100 out of pocket and approximately 88.5% spent less than $300.

The member cost share per year has decreased to 8.3% from 11.4% between 2016 and 2021.

Additionally, CVS Health reported that about $32 million in PrudentRx Savings was passed to members.

Finally, CVS Health reported that the cost of administering COVID-19 vaccines affected the non-specialty trend. The COVID-19 vaccine trend grew by 1.8% with the administration cost and decreased by 1.3% without the vaccine administration cost.

Reference

CVS Health. The drug trend report. February 24, 2022. Accessed March 4, 2022. https://insightslp.cvshealth.com/rs/161-LXO-491/images/CVS-Drug-Trend-Report_PDF_2.23.22.pdf