Hold on to your wallets — the growth in spending on prescription drugs is forecast to more than double this year.

Spending will increase by 6.6 percent in 2018, compared with a 2.9 percent increase last year, according to new estimates released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In actual dollars, spending on medicines is projected to reach $360.2 billion, up from $338.1 billion.

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  • Projected 2018 increase in NHE = 5.3%
    Projected 2018 in drug spending = 6.6%

    Wow! That’s 1.3 percentage points higher on minority of spending!

    • Right, although spending on prescription meds will increase by 6.6 percent in 2018, compared with a 2.9 percent increase last year.

  • “Hold onto your wallets”? Seriously?!? In 2018, CMS projects that total healthcare will increase by $186 billion. It projects that drug spending will increase by $22B, or 12% of the total increase.

    Please don’t start becoming allergic to context, Ed.

    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks for writing in. And I understand your point that spending on drugs remains a smaller portion of overall health spending.

      I was referring more narrowly to projected spending solely on medicines, which is forecast to jump, as the CMS report indicated.

      It is through that prism that I used the wallets metaphor.


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