Medical bag iconThe price tag for specialty medications

Posted August 13, 2015

Can you guess how much Americans spent on all prescription medications in 2014? Would you believe $319 billion? Yes, billion!

“Specialty medications” are responsible for 25% of that total. Specialty medications are advanced medications that treat complex or chronic conditions. They currently cost an average of $4,000-$6,000 a month for each patient taking them!

How are these drugs used?

Specialty drugs are being used to treat many conditions—from multiple sclerosis, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis to hepatitis C and hemophilia.

Among the top 10 specialty drugs today:

  • Humira® and Enbrel® for inflammatory conditions
  • Copaxone®  and Avonex® for multiple sclerosis
  • Revlimid® and Gleevec® for cancer
  • Atripla® for HIV

How expensive are they?

While they can make a real difference in people’s lives, specialty drugs come with a high price tag. They also add to the cost of what we pay for health insurance.

Fallon Health is working with its members and doctors to make sure that people who are given a specialty medication know how to safely handle and manage it. If you’re taking a specialty drug, follow your doctor’s or pharmacist’s directions and take all the medication for as long as needed to finish the treatment. 

Originally printed in Autumn 2013 Healthy Communities magazine. For more articles like this, visit the archive.

Follow us!

Get health and wellness tips and the latest health news on Twitter and Facebook.

Join us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

The information written about in this blog is not intended to be medical advice. Please seek care from a medical professional when you have a health concern.