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TheStreet Open House

Express Scripts Publishes Inaugural Drug Trend Quarterly, Provides First Comprehensive Overview Of U.S. Prescription Drug Spending For 2012

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Price inflation of branded pharmaceutical drugs is far outpacing overall economic inflation, according to new data released today by Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20080827/EXPRESSSCRIPTSLOGO)

The Express Scripts 2012 Q3 Drug Trend Quarterly reviews year-to-date and quarter-over-quarter changes in national drug spending for all major therapy classes. The report is the first publication to reflect the combined data of both Express Scripts and Medco. 

According to the Express Scripts Prescription Price Index, prices on a market basket of the most highly utilized brand-name medications increased 13.3 percent from September 2011 to September 2012, far outpacing the overall economic inflation level of 2.0 percent. During the same timeframe, prices of generic medications declined 21.9 percent. This 35.2 percentage point net inflationary effect is the largest widening of brand and generic prices since Express Scripts began calculating its Prescription Price Index in 2008.

"The patent cliff has fueled a growing price disparity between brand-name and generic medications," said Steve Miller, M.D., chief medical officer at Express Scripts. "The trend emphasizes the nation's continued need for the tools we employ to help patients make better decisions, including generic use when appropriate."

Drivers of Traditional Drug Trend

During the first three quarters of 2012, spending on traditional medications decreased 0.6 percent over the same period in 2011, primarily driven by lower prices brought on by increased use of generic medications.

The top traditional therapy class is mental and neurological disorders (including antidepressants), which now consumes 24.7 percent of all traditional drug spend. Although use of these medications has increased 3.1 percent compared to the first three quarters of 2011, total spending in this class is down 1.9 percent due to newly available generic antidepressants and antipsychotics.

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