By Josh Fredell, Pharm.D., VP, Specialty Product Development and Tierra Ford, Pharm.D., Senior Clinical Advisor, Specialty Client Solutions
We’ve reached a transformative point in health care. The rich pipeline of specialty medications offers treatment for patients living with a wide and expanding range of complex and chronic conditions that can be challenging to manage and have a significant impact on their daily lives.
While this is great news, it also poses a new set of challenges. This is because it’s not uncommon for specialty drugs to cost into the five or six figures per year. Humira, a specialty medication and global top selling drug in 2020, costs about $72,000 annually. Zokinvy, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved in November 2020 to treat Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, is the most expensive pharmacy drug, exceeding $1 million per year depending on the prescribed dose.
Specialty drug prices have risen steadily over the past several years and account for an increasing share of pharmacy spend. In 2020, specialty drugs made up 52% of our clients’ pharmacy spend, up 20 percentage points from just five years prior.