By Jason Millman
If you’ve been wondering why the high cost of a new hepatitis C cure has ignited such a fierce public debate over the past few months, it’s because more specialty drugs like Sovaldi are going to flood the market in coming years. This class of drugs accounted for less than 1 percent of all prescriptions in 2013, but about 25 percent of all prescription drug spending — and spending on specialty drugs is projected to increase 63 percent by 2016, according to Express Scripts.
These complex and expensive specialty drugs cost on average $3,000 per month and, by one count, are about 50 times more expensive than traditional drugs. So it seems like a useful exercise to ask what these expensive drugs actually buy.