In pharmacy news:

According to a new Express Scripts report, more than half a million U.S. patients had medication costs in excess of $50,000 in 2014, an increase of 63 percent from the prior year, as doctors prescribed more expensive specialty drugs for diseases such as cancer and hepatitis C. Further, author Glen Stettin, MD notes, “the population of patients with costs of $100,000 or more nearly tripled during the same time period” to about 140,000 people. The total cost impact to payers from both patient populations (the $50K+ and $100K+) is an “unsustainable” $52 billion a year. The report, “Super Spending: U.S. Trends in High-Cost Medication Use,” analyzed pharmacy reimbursements from Express Scripts’ massive network. For the highest-cost group totaling 140,000 patients, Settin noted several trends in the data, calling it a “profile.” Such trends include high rates (more than ten) of co-morbid diagnoses needing treatment, twice the rate of antidepressant use compared to the general population, plus high prevalence of many (ten or more) daily prescriptions and a pattern of multiple prescribers.

Read the report here. Read additional coverage from Reuters here.

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