By 2018, specialty drug expenses will comprise 60% of all drug spend, 3 times more than 2014, according to Prime Therapeutics 2014 Report on prescription drug cost analysis.
This means using pharmacy benefit tools and member engagement strategies to manage them effectively is important, according to Peter Wickersham, senior vice president, integrated care and specialty at Prime.
“As pharmacy costs accelerate, appropriate and aggressive management of specialty drugs is the key to staying ahead,” Wickersham said.
Prime recommends 7 strategies for managing the steady rise in these costs:
1. Bridge the benefit divide. Use combined pharmacy and medical benefit data to see the full scope of specialty spending and seek solutions.
2. Focus on the biggest issues. Use combined data to target the most urgent issues and focus on the areas that can provide the greatest return on investment.
3. Narrow the specialty network. Use cost-effective distribution channels and limit the number of distributors to secure lower prices.
Net cost per prescription offers the clearest picture of where prescriptions costs start and how they compare among pharmacy benefit managers (PBM), according to Wickersham.
“Specialty drugs are the clear driver of the net ingredient cost increase,” he said.