Diabetes Medication Costs to Rise 24% by 2015

Jun 24, 2013
With 38% of diabetes patients who fail to take their medication as prescribed, it’s critical to focus on solutions to improve adherence and reduce waste.
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  • Diabetes

As more than 14,000 researchers and healthcare professionals participate in this year’s American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Sessions to discuss the latest research in diabetes – a disease that affects more than 26 million Americans – it’s important to keep in mind another big number: 38%. That is the portion of diabetes patients who fail to take their medication as prescribed.

Diabetes Drug Trend

Improve Adherence, Reduce Waste

A significant focus of the Scientific Sessions is on new treatments. While drug therapy is a critical part of maintaining the health of people with the disease, it also is a leading driver of healthcare spending. When patients don’t take their medications as prescribed, their health suffers and millions of dollars are wasted.

That’s why it is critical to focus on solutions that improve adherence. Express Scripts is uniquely positioned to address non-adherence through Health Decision ScienceSM – our understanding of patient behavior, expertise in clinical treatments for complex diseases, including diabetes, and ability to use aggregate data to tailor solutions for the patients who most need them.

Diabetes Treatment Costs on the Rise

In 2012, for the second year in a row, the U.S. spent more on medications to treat diabetes than any other therapy class. And the trend of increased spending will continue, according to the latest Drug Trend Report. By the end of 2015, spending on diabetes medications is expected to climb 24%.

Some other pharmacy-related diabetes facts and figures from the 2012 Drug Trend Report:

While U.S. spending on prescription drugs (including traditional and specialty) increased 2.7% in 2012, spending specifically on diabetes medications increased 11%.

Of this 11% spending increase, 1.5% is attributed to increased utilization, and 9.5% is attributed to increased unit cost.

Factors driving diabetes drug costs include:
  • Diagnosis and treatment of Type 2 diabetes continue to increase, driven by the large number of overweight and obese individuals in the U.S. Earlier this week, the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease state requiring a range of interventions for treatment and prevention.
  • Brand inflation in long-acting insulins and newer drugs for treating Type 2 diabetes will result in an increase in unit cost.
  • A new class of medications, sodium-dependent glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, is expected to gain market share, as these medications are associated with weight reduction.
  • The Food and Drug Administration approval of competitors to existing dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists and to the SGLT-2 inhibitors will contribute to brand inflation.



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