How Much Does the U.S. Spend on Prescription Drugs?
This question is examined in detail in Projections of the Prescription Drug Share of National Health Expenditures Including Non-Retail, a study authored by Dr. Charles Roehrig, fellow in the Altarum Center for Value in Health Care.
Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) releases a ten year projection of national health expenditures (NHE) that includes data for prescription drug spending, as well as "non-retail" prescription drug spending. While this "non-retail" spending on prescription drugs are included in the CMS data, it's not separately identifiable because this consists of prescription drugs that are administered as part of a physician visit, or during a hospital or nursing home stay. Therefore, the cost of these drugs is built into the charge for the visit or stay, and shows up in the CMS data as spending on physician, hospital, and nursing home services. The purpose of this report is to build a better understanding of how "non-retail" spending is allocated across national health account services categories.
Key findings include: