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For those wondering where drug pricing trends are headed, more than two dozen payers believe prices for brand-name medicines will rise between 3 percent and 6 percent over the next three years, according to a survey conducted by Cowen & Co. analysts. This compares with the 4 percent to 6 percent range that was registered in their annual survey taken a year ago.

Meanwhile, 26 percent of the payers report that three-quarters of the anticipated increase in spending will be due to higher-priced, newer drugs. In last year’s survey, payers reported that 50 percent of increased spending would be due to newer and high-priced drugs. And generic drug costs are expected to increase 2 percent annually over the next three years, compared with 1 percent that was forecast in the previous annual survey.


The survey queried 27 US-based health maintenance organizations, pharmacy benefit managers and hospitals that, collectively, bought more than $43 billion in prescription drugs last year. This represents 20 percent of US retail drug purchases, the brokerage firm noted.

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