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Report to Congress: Prescription Drugs: Innovation, Spending, and Patient Access

Publication Date

This Report responded to a request from the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. Published estimates of the cost of new drug development range from $1.2 billion to $2.6 billion and are highly sensitive to assumptions about pre-clinical and clinical development time, cost of capital, the likelihood of reaching approval following the start of clinical testing, and costs of preclinical development and clinical trials conducted among humans, and to the incorporation of recent increases in Orphan drug approvals. Patterns of increases in overall prescription drug spending growth varied across government programs (Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, Medicaid, and the Veterans Health Administration), but spending on specialty drugs and biologics increased rapidly in all programs. Access to prescription drugs improved between 2011 and 2014 as the percentage of adults not taking drugs as prescribed because of cost decline.