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Amid national turmoil over rising drug costs, a new report finds that spending on prescription medicines in the U.S. last year grew a modest 0.6 percent, to $324 billion, after accounting for rebates and discounts that are paid by drug makers. And real net per-capita spending fell by 2.2 percent, when adjusted for those allowances, as well as for population and economic growth.

The rebates and discounts mean that drug makers are realizing less revenue than the stated list prices for their medicines. The difference last year was $130 billion, up from $74 billion, according to data from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, which is part of the IQVIA market research firm. List prices, meanwhile, rose a modest 1.4 percent.


At the same time, the growth in net spending slowed to approximately $700 million last year, down dramatically from $12.1 billion in 2016. Sales of new brand-name drugs contributed $2.3 billion less growth and generics declined by $5.5 billion. These medicines contributed less to the sales growth because price increases were lower last year than in 2016, both before and after rebates and discounts.

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  • You should do a story on how bad the drug kick backs pharmacies give to drug manufacturers is raising the price of health insurance. My husband after having cancer ended up on Levothyroxine, under insurance we paid 12 dollars and insurance paid 170 dollars. When my husband lost his job and we didn’t have insurance we thought we couldn’t afford it. When the effects of not having it got to bad we finally broke down and went to pick some up. It turned out without insurance we paid 12 dollars a month. So in other words even when we had insurance we paid the full price for the drug and they billed an extra 170 dollars that got kicked back to the pharmaceutical company. Turns out through the years I have discovered there are a lot of drugs that are cheaper to buy without your insurance card. If you do use your card you will end up paying a little more or at least the full price of what the drug would originally cost you without insurance. Now there is a story the American people deserve to here about. Why pay for insurance if it isn’t really saving you any money. With the premiums you end up paying hundreds of dollars more for your prescriptions.

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