Healthcare costs continue to be a concern, despite efforts underway to reduce them through healthcare reform initiatives. One area, in particular, is worrying patients and physicians alike: specialty drugs or biologics. An article in Workforce Management reports that specialty drugs “make up about 17% of employers’ total drug costs, even though just 1% of the workforce takes them.” Reuters reports that “approximately 57 million Americans rely on specialty drugs,” with the average prescription costing $1,766.00 in 2011.
“Specialty drugs are high-cost drugs used to treat complex or rare conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C and hemophilia. The drugs are often self-injected or administered in a physician’s office or through home health services,” according to Wellmark. Specialty pharmacies specialize in the delivery and clinical management of specialty drugs. It is reported that the average cost per specialty medication is $2,000.00 per month,