Cardiovascular drugs: Current spending, future outlook
Cardiovascular drugs are among the most widely used, since their indications are far reaching and address conditions that are prevalent among a large population. In fact, approximately 5.1 million Americans have heart failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the “2015 Drug Trend Report,” from Express Scripts, spending on drugs in the cardiovascular categories decreased between 2014 and 2015.
The Drug Trend Report found that spending in the high blood cholesterol class decreased 9.2% because of decreases in both use and unit cost. This decrease moved this class to the third most costly traditional therapy class in 2015 from second in 2014. Per-member-per-year (PMPY) spend was $32.66.
The decrease in trend is greatly influenced by the availability of generic medications, which represent 83.1% of the market share in the class, according to the report. Additionally, spending in the high blood pressure/heart disease category decreased 12.5% between 2014 and 2015, driven mostly by a 14.9% decline in unit costs. Generic medications make up 95.7% of the 2015 market share for the class. The high blood pressure/heart disease category is the fifth costliest traditional class of medications, with PMPY spend of $25.70.
Given the large population of Americans with high blood cholesterol, new innovation in this category has the potential to significantly increase spending in this class, which is currently dominated by low-cost, effective statin therapies, according to Christopher Peterson, PharmD, senior director, clinical evaluation and policy at Express Scripts.
“However, the drugs in the high blood cholesterol pipeline, if approved, would generate competition among the new class of cholesterol-lowering medications [PCSK9 inhibitors]…which could help make them more affordable,” Peterson says.