June 28, 2021

Pharmacy Trends Benchmarking


Americans spend an average of $1,200 per year on pharmacy drugs. When those costs are being applied to a company’s healthcare plan, they can add up quickly.

Add an expensive specialty drug and an organization can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in drug costs alone.

Apex’s Benchmarking Survey data showed that only 47 percent of respondents consider evaluating their pharmacy benefits program as a strategic priority. While higher than the 44 percent in 2019, it still means less than half of employers aren’t putting high value into looking closely at the cost of their Rx program.

Put another way – a majority of employers aren’t prioritizing how to how to predict and control costs to improve their bottom line.

For the high-cost specialty drugs, including orphan drugs and gene therapies, nearly 66 percent of respondents said they have not given any consideration to the challenge pharmacy drugs present to their organization’s financial well-being or the health of their employees.

It only makes sense for employers to put more focus on their Rx benefit programs. What can they do to lower costs company-wide, and for their employees?

Shop around

The most valuable tip employers can give their employees is to become an educated shopper.

Kinetiq Health Pharmacy Benefit Practice Leader Erin Albert, PharmD says this is the quickest and easiest way to save money.

“Pretend you don’t have any pharmacy benefits at all, then begin shopping for the best cash price,” Albert said.

Drug discount sites like GoodRx is a great place to start for lower prices and coupons. She also suggests calling local pharmacies to compare prices.

Narrow pharmacy networks

Eliminating a national pharmacy chain gives your company leverage when it comes to negotiating prices with a pharmacy benefit manager. The more leverage, the lower the costs the employer can enjoy.

Use management programs

Most PBM contracts default to having the most expensive drug price charged to its customers. However, a management program ensures the least expensive drugs are the ones being prescribed. It’s the same treatment and a much affordable price.

Want to see how your pharmacy benefits plan compares to other Indiana employers? Request a Custom Benchmarking Report and we can show you how your entire employee benefits program stacks up, and where it can be improved.

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