The amount Americans spent on prescription drugs in 2016 rose 7% over 2015, according to a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which tracks a representative sample of prescription drugs on the market.
This stat, which we first spotted via Marketplace reporter Dan Gorenstein on Twitter, showed that this was the largest change in 24 years.
The report gives an insight into what people are actually paying out of pocket for medications included in the index. That’s a different and in some ways more relevant measure than the list prices that often get called out for drug price hikes.
Prescription drug costs were among the items included on the consumer price index with the highest percent change from 2015, along with health insurance, which was up 8.4% from 2015.
This isn’t the first time this trend in higher drug costs has been noted in BLS data, and the rising price of prescription drugs – from lesser-used drugs like Daraprim to more common prescriptions like insulin and EpiPens – has dominated headlines in the past year.
Medical costs in general rose faster than anything else, according to the report. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 51% of workers polled now have a deductible higher than $1,000, meaning more families are on the hook for paying at least $1,000 out of pocket before their insurance starts to help them out.
- Skye Gould