Specialty-drug spending spawns protest

Has spending on specialty drugs hit a wall? Spending on these meds--including those for cancer and multiple sclerosis--is rising at a rapid pace, and that has some payers and watchdogs clamoring for alternatives.

Experts estimate that specialty drug spending could top $99 billion by 2010, nearly double the $54 billion spent in 2006. To curb costs, pharmacy benefits managers already are enforcing rules on drug selection, usage, and dosage. But they fear that's not enough to rein in spending. So they're pushing Congress to make some changes: create a clear pathway for generic biologics, reinforce rules requiring cheaper therapies, and back pay-for-performance projects like the one Johnson & Johnson agreed to in the U.K. to get Velcade on the National Health Service formulary.

- see the item at the WSJ Health Blog
- get more details in the WSJ article

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