Cost of updating health care technology

These patent-protected drugs now make up 63% of total drug spending, up from 29% of total spending in 2010, despite the fact that they make up less than 10% of total prescriptions filled.

Spending on the drug Gilenya, used to treat multiple sclerosis, increased 30,257% over a seven-year period, according to the study, which examined the medical claims of more than 30 million Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercially insured members and more than 8 billion in prescription spending from January 2010 through September 2016."This rapid rise in drug trend costs is likely to continue in future years," said Maureen Sullivan, chief strategy and innovation officer for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

A decade ago, electronic health records (EHRs) were touted as key to increasing of quality care.

In addition, the bipartisan Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act, would ban brand-name manufacturers from using so-called pay-for-delay agreements to keep competing generic products off the market.

Part of the problem is that some expensive drugs lack viable, less expensive alternatives.

These unavoidable costs have caused some providers to shift strategies.

Branded drugs with no generic alternatives, or single-source drugs, are the main culprit, the study said.

They are rising at an average annual rate of 25%, a total of 285% since 2010.

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