Drug spending
Retail prescription drug spending rose by 7.8% in 2021, as COVID-19 eased and patients got care they had been putting off, CMS says.

U.S. Retail Drug Spending Rose 7.8% in 2021, as COVID Eased and Patients Got Care They Postponed

Retail prescription drug spending in the U.S. shot up 7.8% to $378 billion in 2021, more than double the 3.7% spending growth rate in 2020, as the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic brought a surge in doctor visits and a resulting spike in prescribing, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on 2021 healthcare spending published online Dec. 14 in Health Affairs.

“The trends in healthcare spending in 2020 and 2021 are inextricably linked to the many unique impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the authors of the study (subscription required), conducted by CMS’s National Health Expenditure Accounts Team.

Retail prescription drug spending in the U.S. shot up 7.8% to $378 billion in 2021, more than double the 3.7% spending growth rate in 2020, as the end of the COVID-19 pandemic brought a surge in doctor visits and a resulting spike in prescribing, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on 2021 healthcare spending published online Dec. 14 in Health Affairs.

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