600,000 Americans each consume more than $50,000 worth of pharmaceuticals annually, shocking analysis finds
The real drug addicts in America today aren't out on the street begging for spare change; they're driving their children to soccer games, working in corporate offices, playing bingo in nursing homes, and attending church services weekly. Regular, everyday citizens, it turns out, are consuming more pharmaceuticals than ever, according to a new analysis, with a shocking 600,000 Americans each consuming the equivalent of $50,000 worth of drug pills annually.
An Express Scripts report entitled Super Spending: U.S. Trends in High-Cost Medication Use found that an estimated 576,000 Americans spent more than the media household income last year on legalized drugs. Everything from pain pills to psychiatric medications to cancer poisons make up what the report found to represent a 63 percent increase in pharmaceutical drug use compared to 2013 figures.
Most of the patients in this category were found to be taking "specialty" medications, having multiple co-morbidities, prescriptions, and prescribers. Nine out of 10 patients in the high-cost category take medications for multiple conditions, in fact, including drugs for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and depression. Antidepressant use within this category was exceptionally high, representing twice the use rate compared to the general population.
Shockingly, six in 10 patients in the high-cost drug category were found to be taking 10 or more different medications at one time, with 72 percent taking written prescriptions from at least four different prescribers. And perhaps not surprisingly, the bulk ofpatients in this category, some 58 percent, are "baby boomers," meaning they range in age from 51-70.
Nearly 140,000 Americans currently spend more than $100,000 each on pharmaceuticals every year
If you think spending $50,000 a year on drugs is bad, consider this: As many as 140,000 Americans each spend twice this amount every year on pharmaceutical sorceries, which is more than triple the number from 2013. Together with the 576,000 who each spend $50,000 annually, this represents a collective societal burden of $52 billion per year spent on drugs for just 716,000 people.
This figure is staggering, illustrating how American "sick care" is an unsustainable quagmire, and a scourge on society's collective purse. There's no reason why anyone should be spending this much money on "medication," and yet this is exactly how the system has been designed for the purposes of maximizing drug industry profits - get as many people as possible signed up to take the most expensive drugs, as do this as quickly as possible.
The top contenders, according to Express Scripts, are expensive "compounded therapies" like those sold for hepatitis C and cancer. Nearly two-thirds of drug spending among patients whose annual drug costs exceed $100,000 is spent on these therapies.
Most pharmaceutical drug addicts don't pay their own medical bills; taxpayers and others in the insurance "pool" do!
The folks actually paying this enormous bill, however, aren't the patients individually consuming $100,000 worth of pharmaceutical drugs annually. Insurance plans and employers, a.k.a. you and I and everyone else in the insurance "pool," are the real payers, as are taxpayers who fund Obamacare. The rest of the low-use, insurance-paying population, in other words, is inadvertently funding the high-use drug addicts who are draining the system with their expensive pharmaceutical treatments.
"Insurance plans and employers covered more than 98 percent of the costs for patients whose prescription drug bills exceeded $100,000 in 2014, paying an average of $156,911 of these patients' 2014 pharmacy costs," says Express Scripts.
"Patients within this highest-cost tier were responsible for less than 2 percent of their total 2014 pharmacy costs, paying an average $2,782 out-of-pocket in 2014. This reflects an annual decrease in the out-of-pocket percentage these patients paid in 2013."