Drug makers may offer rebates to payers, but health plans continue to see notable increases in costs for prescription medicines, according to a report by the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. And this has been especially true for one particularly costly group of medicines used to treat multiple sclerosis.
In 2015, the average spending per member each month for all medicines rose 6.1 percent from 2014, after rebates, among five state health plans that were examined. And average spending increased 21.4 percent from 2014, after rebates, for five different types of specialty drugs for treating cancer, hepatitis C, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
Nonetheless, the report concluded that, “in most instances, rebates did not substantially alter the rate of increase in aggregate spending.” The report, which was released last week, attempted to pierce the veil of corporate secrecy associated with drug prices by analyzing data obtained through civil investigative demands issued to health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, and pharmacies.