For 2019, we again aim our magnifying glass at the annual trend reports from the largest pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs): CVS Health, Express Scripts, and Prime Therapeutics. (See their report links below.)
Once again, we find that commercial drug spending did not race higher—contrary to what you keep hearing from journalists and politicians. Spending rose by less than 3% in 2019, continuing a multiyear trend of slow growth. At some plan sponsors, total drug spending even declined. For specialty drugs, higher utilization—not drug costs—was again the biggest factor driving specialty spending growth.