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5 Slide Series

Volume 105

Trends in Medicaid’s Average Costs Per Prescription

This edition presents our tabulations of Medicaid pharmacy cost and price trends. Some of our key findings:

  • Nationwide Medicaid pre-rebate costs per prescription increased at an annual average rate of 5.6% from 2012-2021, led by an 11.9% annual rate of increase for brand drugs. Average costs per brand drugs rose particularly sharply during recent years, rising 56 % (16% per year) from 2018-2021. 
  • Keeping the mix of drugs constant so that price changes could be assessed, we found that drug prices rose 64% across all drugs that were on the market throughout the 2012-2021 timeframe.
  • During 2021, 52.1% of Medicaid’s pre-rebate prescription drug spending were attributable to medications with an average cost above $1,000 per prescription.  This proportion was “only” 21.5% during 2012.
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