First quarter 2002 prescription drug spending: Higher again, but rate of increase drops

ST. LOUIS, June 4, 2002 The nations rapid upward trend in prescription drug spending continued during first quarter 2002 but at a slightly lower rate of 19.3 percent compared to 19.8 percent in first quarter 2001.

For the entire year 2001, spending increased 16.9 percent according to the 2001 Express Scripts Drug Trend Report. Last year, the average wholesale price (AWP) cost was $592.05 an $85.42 increased above the 2000 figure of $506.63 AWP.

As suggested by the first quarter 2002 trend decrease, Express Scripts is forecasting that 2002 annual spending growth will slow to 15.9 percent. The company, one of the nations leading pharmacy benefit management firms, predicts that the average cost in 2002 will reach $686.19 for an increase of $94.14.

We began to see some moderation in utilization during the first quarter, resulting in a slight decrease in the upward cost trend. Lower utilization will continue to play a role, but big impact on spending will also come from new generics, especially generic versions of ACE inhibitor cardiac drugs Zestril and Prinivil and a generic form of the gastrointestinal drug Prilosec, if court action clears the way, said Barrett A. Toan, Express Scripts chairman and chief executive officer.

The Express Scripts Drug Trend Report, now in its sixth year, provides our clients, policy makers, the health care community and consumers with a better understanding of the dynamics underlying current drug cost increases and future drug cost trends, continued Toan. The full 2001 report will be released on June 4, at the annual Express Scripts Outcomes Conference in St. Louis.

The actual 2000-2001 increase for Express Scripts clients generally ranged from 5 percent to 35 percent, depending on the extent to which plan sponsors chose to implement Express Scripts cost management programs.

Higher Prices, Increased Utilization Drive Drug Trend

In the 2001 Express Scripts Drug Trend Report,

Contact: Ryan Soderstrom
Kupper Parker Communications

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