The Associated Press: Report: 2015 US Drug Spending Up 5 Percent, Half 2014’s Rise Specialty Medicines Contribute To 5 Percent Increase In Drug Spending For 2015, Report Finds The rate is half of the 2014 spike, but Express Scripts, the company that issued the report, forecasts that the prices will only continue to climb for the next two years. Spending on prescription drugs for insured Americans rose about 5 percent last year, driven by both greater medication use and higher prices, mainly for very expensive drugs termed specialty medicines. Still, the increase was half the rate in 2014, which saw the biggest price jump since 2003. A report by the largest U.S. prescription benefit manager, Express Scripts Holding Co., also found the average price of brand-name drugs already on the market increased by 16.2 percent in 2015 and has jumped 98.2 percent since 2011. One-third of brand-name prescription drugs had price increases exceeding 20 percent last year. (3/14) NPR: Cancer And Arthritis Drugs Drive Up Spending On Medicines Spending on prescription drugs in the U.S. rose 5.2 percent in 2015, driven mostly by increased costs of expensive specialty medications to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, according to data from the largest manager of employers’ drug benefits. Spending on specialty medications rose 18 percent, while spending on standard prescription drugs rose less than one percent, according to a new report by Express Scripts. The report is based on the prescription drug spending for the company’s 80 million covered patients. The measure — called “drug trend” in pharmaceutical industry parlance — includes increases in the use of medications and price hikes. (Kodjak, 3/14) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.