U.S. drug spending increased 12% in 2021 due to COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, says IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science

  • Utilization of health services returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021, but has not yet made up for the pandemic-induced backlog in missed patient visits, screenings and diagnoses, elective procedures and the new beginnings of prescription

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, North Carolina, April 21, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–U.S. drug spending, at estimated net manufacturer prices, reached $407 billion in 2021, up 12% from 2020, as vaccines and treatments against COVID-19 became widely available and added $29 billion in related revenue. expenses. It’s according to a new 2022 U.S. Drug Trends Report, published today by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. In the same year, the market for non-COVID drugs grew more slowly, at 5%, due to the growing impact of biosimilars, which increased significantly, offsetting the increased use of branded drugs.

Out-of-pocket out-of-pocket (OOP) increased by $4 billion, or 5.3%, in 2021 to a total of $79 billion, returning to the level seen in 2018 after two years of declining costs. These direct costs remain a significant burden for a relatively small part of the population, even if the average costs per prescription were stable or slightly decreasing.

“The increase in medical spending in the United States has been largely due to the increased availability of pandemic vaccines, boosters and treatments. This speaks to the resilience of the biopharmaceutical ecosystem to successfully respond to a global and national healthcare crisis, while continuing to improve outcomes across the healthcare spectrum,” said Murray Aitken. , Senior Vice President of IQVIA and Executive Director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. “However, the $4 billion increase in OOP costs for patients matches the all-time high previously seen in 2018, a trend we will need to continue to monitor.”

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • Use of health services: Utilization of health services returned to near pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2021, but has not yet made up for the existing backlog of missed health services. The IQVIA Healthcare Utilization Index – which tracks patient visits, screening and diagnostic tests, elective procedures and new prescribing starts – increased to a level of 99 at the end of 2021 per against a benchmark of 100 in the first eight weeks of 2020. This reflects a strong recovery in activity since the second quarter of 2020, when the index stood at 66.

  • Use of prescription drugs: Prescription drug use hit an all-time high of 194 billion daily doses in 2021, as new prescriptions begin for chronic and acute care after the slowdown in 2020. Treatment days for all drug types on prescriptions grew 3.3% last year, rebounding from 1.9% growth in 2020, when usage was severely disrupted by the pandemic.

  • Net price compared to list price: Differences between list price spend and net payer spend topped $190 billion in 2021, representing a 24% discount to the average list price. This represents an increase from $118 billion, or a 20% rebate, in 2016, as negotiated rebates and rebates for payers and providers increased in competitive markets and $340 billion organizations accounted for a larger share of drug use. This increase is largely due to the growth of autoimmune and oncology treatments, the expenditure of which tripled during this period, while traditional drug classes fell by 3% in total.

  • Forecasts until 2026: U.S. drug use and spending is expected to return to pre-pandemic growth trends by 2023 despite year-to-year fluctuations and additional spending on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. We forecast compound annual growth of 2.1% (range 1-4%) through 2026 and a total market size of approximately $450 billion based on net manufacturer price. These levels are comparable to pre-pandemic rates.

The full version of the report, including a detailed description of the methodology, is available at www.IQVIAInstitute.org. The study was produced independently as a public service, with no industry or government funding.

About the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science

The IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science contributes to the advancement of human health worldwide through timely research, insightful analysis, and scientific expertise applied to granular unidentified patient-level data.

Addressing a critical need in healthcare, the Institute provides objective, relevant information and research that accelerates the understanding and innovation essential to sound decision-making and improved human outcomes. With access to IQVIA’s institutional knowledge, advanced analytics, technology and unparalleled data, the Institute works in tandem with a wide range of healthcare stakeholders to drive a data science driven research agenda. including government agencies, academic institutions, the life sciences industry, and payers. More information about the IQVIA Institute can be found at www.IQVIAInstitute.org.


IQVIA (NYSE: IQV) is a leading global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions and clinical research services to the life sciences industry. IQVIA creates intelligent connections in all aspects of healthcare through its analytics, transformational technology, big data resources and deep domain expertise. IQVIA Connected Intelligence™ delivers powerful insights with speed and agility, enabling customers to accelerate the clinical development and commercialization of innovative medical treatments that improve healthcare outcomes for patients. With approximately 79,000 employees, IQVIA does business in more than 100 countries.

IQVIA is a global leader in protecting patient privacy. The company uses a wide variety of technologies and privacy safeguards to protect the privacy of individuals while generating and analyzing information at a scale that helps healthcare actors identify disease patterns and to correlate with the specific treatment and therapy needed for best results. IQVIA’s knowledge and execution capabilities help biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical companies, medical researchers, government agencies, payers and other healthcare stakeholders harness a deeper understanding of diseases, human behavior and scientific advances, with the aim of advancing on the path to cures. To learn more, visit www.iqvia.com.

See the source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220421005331/en/


Nick Childs, IQVIA Investor Relations ([email protected])

Tor Constantino, IQVIA Media Relations ([email protected])

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