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    Pharmacy spending (more from Desktop Resource, Feb. 2008)


    Figure 2 drills down to the therapeutic classes within each therapeutic chapter and how they will be contributing to the increase in plan spending for prescription drugs from 2007 to 2009.

    One of the most important therapeutic classes according to Figure 2 is going to be cancer and transplant. "In fact, its contribution to spending increases over the next three years is definitely underestimated here since our projections are based on pharmacy claims data and a large portion of the spending for cancer treatments is paid through the medical benefit," says Lon Castle, MD, senior director, department of medical and analytical affairs at Medco. "We estimate that the pharmacy spending in this class is going to increase dramatically."

    According to Dr. Castle, in 2006 cancer spending grew nearly 38%, becoming the largest contributor to specialty drug trend. Almost 25% of all specialty drugs approved last year were for cancer. There are more than 500 new cancer drugs and indications for existing cancer drugs under development. These include the more targeted and personalized cancer therapies that are expected to comprise the majority of cancer drugs developed over the next five to seven years.

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