|Even as the cost of prescription drugs has plummeted for many Americans, a small slice of the population is being asked to shoulder more and more of the cost of expensive treatments for diseases like cancer and hepatitis C, according to a report to be released on Tuesday by a major drug research firm.|
The findings echo the conclusions of two other reports released last week by major pharmacy benefit managers, which predicted that spending on so-called specialty drugs would continue to rise.
The report, by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, also found that consumers’ use of health care — visits to the doctor, hospital admissions and prescription drug use — rose in 2013 for the first time in three years, mainly because of the improving economy, it said.
“Following several years of decline, 2013 was striking for the increased use by patients of all parts of the U.S. health care system,” Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute, said in a statement. He noted that the spike came before the Affordable Care Act, which has helped provide health insurance to millions of new customers, fully went into effect.
But even as consumers became more confident about spending money on health care last year, the report found that a divide is developing between those with medical conditions that can be treated with cheap generic drugs, and those with rare and often more serious diseases that can come with breathtaking price tags.
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