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Drug Rebates for High Cost Prescription Drugs Continue to Rise in Colorado

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drug rebate analysis, the third installation of The Center for Improving Value in Health Care’s (CIVHC) new Affordability Dashboard, shows that prescription drug spending continues to grow in Colorado, and so do drug rebates for brand non-specialty and brand specialty drugs. Increases in both spending and the percent rebates of total spending lead to calls for more transparency around the impact drug rebates have on rising health care costs.

Data from the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD) show that from 2013 to 2019, prescription drug costs rose 87% per person per year. Prescription drug rebates from manufacturers provide health insurers with some relief from rising costs, although they may also be contributing to overall increases in prices. Drug rebates refer to compensations provided by drug manufacturers to Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) which in turn share rebates with health insurance payers to help reduce the cost of specific drugs.

To help stakeholders dig deeper into drug rebates, CIVHC released a full interactive drug rebate report as part of its Affordability Dashboard. This is the third cost-related topic to be added to the dashboard in addition to total cost of care and low value care. In the future, CIVHC will be collecting more specific drug rebate information from payers to support the work of the state Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

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