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CMS: Drug prices are not skyrocketing, they declined in 2020

In our series fact, not opinion:

Drug prices are not skyrocketing on the list price level - those prices including supply chain payments - and they are in fact declining for yet another year on net prices - those prices that developers actually realize. This is thanks to ever growing discounts and rebates PBMs and payers receive.

IQVIA and SSR Health have shown these trends for years in their data on all medicines, and the US government confirms it when tracking retails drugs (2/3 of all spending) via the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the CMS actuaries, with their latest report.

The latest National Health Expenditure Accounts study for 2020 says it clearly:

"Also contributing to the slowdown in overall prescription drug spending growth was a decline in prices for the third consecutive year; in 2020 prices for prescription drugs declined 0.1 percent after decreases of 0.4 percent in 2019 and 1.0 percent in 2018."

Also new: CMS estimates retail drugs account for an even smaller share of US health spending, now at 8%.

And, of course, Adam Fein's famous graph.


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