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Analysis

Pharmaceutical Spending to Top $370B in 2019

By Jack O'Brien  
   May 28, 2019

Spending on healthcare and pharmaceuticals are expected to continue to grow this year, according to Fitch Solutions.

U.S. pharmaceutical spending is expected to grow by 2.5% in 2019, topping $370 billion, while overall healthcare spending is projected to grow by 4% and reach $3.6 trillion, according to a Fitch Solutions report released Monday.

By 2023, Fitch Solutions estimates pharmaceutical sales will top $420 billion, account for nearly 1.7% of the national GDP, and 9.7% of overall health expenditures.

Overall healthcare spending is expected to reach $4.3 trillion during the same period of time.

The pharmaceutical market forecast is unchanged since the Q2 2019 update, though the overall healthcare market forecast was revised downwards.

Related: Big Pharma Earnings Might Not be as Good as They Look

Fitch's findings come Congress examines the rising cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, specifically examining potential legislative measures to institute further oversight on the pharmaceutical industry.

Similarly, the Trump administration has taken some executive actions to promote price transparency by requiring drugmakers to list prescription drug prices in TV ads.  

Related: 4 Takeaways From Pharma Testimony at Senate Drug Pricing Hearing

Looking ahead, private insurers are not expected to "contribute significantly" to prescription drug expenditures, according to Fitch, while both Medicare and Medicaid are expected to grow as payers.

Ultimately, Medicare is slated to become the leading payer for prescription drugs.

Fitch also predicts that out-of-pocket spending on pharmaceuticals will become more common due to the repeal of the individual mandate as part of the 2017 tax reform bill.

Related: PBM Lobby Raps 'Poorly Conceived' HHS Drug Rebate Proposal

On Fitch's Innovative Pharmaceutical Risk/Reward Index, the U.S. maintains a score of 86.7 out of 100, placing it in first place on a regional and global ranking.

This ranking is expected to remain unchanged going forward, according to the Fitch report, due to the lack of another pharmaceutical market that can match the U.S.' vast commercial potential.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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