Spending on Antineoplastic Agents in the United States, 2011-2016

PURPOSE:: Recent cancer drug approvals are lauded as being more effective with relatively fewer adverse effects, but these treatments come with a great cost to the US health care system. There is little information on recent trends in actual antineoplastic expenditures representative of the whole US health care system or by sector. Therefore, the objective of this study was to describe antineoplastic expenditures in the United States by year and sector. METHODS:: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study of IQVIA (formerly QuintilesIMS) National Sales Perspective data for the period of January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2016. Actual expenditures were totaled by health care sector and calendar year, then adjusted for medical-cost inflation to 2016 dollars. Growth was calculated as the percentage increase from the previous year. RESULTS:: Total expenditures of antineoplastic agents across all channels grew from $26.8 billion in 2011 to $42.1 billion in 2016. Antineoplastic spending increased 12.2% in 2016 (compared with the previous year), followed by 15.6% in 2015, 13.4% in 2014, 6.3% in 2013, and 0.4% in 2012. Throughout the study period, 96.5% of total antineoplastic expenditures occurred within clinics, mail-order pharmacies, nonfederal hospitals, and retail pharmacies. CONCLUSION:: Antineoplastic expenditures are expected to increase because of continuing development and approval of costly targeted cancer therapies. Cost containment and utilization management strategies must be balanced so as not to restrict access or disrupt innovation. Future policies should focus on ensuring safe and appropriate use of antineoplastics while balancing long-term drug costs.

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