Deliberately Sensational Reporting About Drug Costs

  • by: |
  • 06/17/2015
There's been proverbial flood of articles on the high cost of drugs.  

This happens everytime a bunch of new medicines hit the market.   But how about putting the amount into context or discussing value.   As any baseball fan (or FBI agent investigating the St. Louis Cardinals hack of the Houston Astros scouting database) knows context is everything.   

So for instance, the Pharmalot blog posted:  How Much?! Global Prescription Drug Sales Forecast to Reach $987B by 2020

But the headline obscures and deflects attention from the fact that between 2015-2020 Rx spending will actually decline as a total share of global health spending. 

The same designed neglect applies to the breathless discussion of "skyrocketing drug prices or drug costs".   

You wouldn't know that drug spending as a percent of total health spending in the US will remain FLAT between now and 2025 even as specialty drug spending becomes half of total Rx expenditures.

Is it too much to ask for some context.  It took me, a C minus math student, five minutes to figure out percentages.  Why can't journalists and policy types who are a lot better at this stuff than I am run the same numbers?  


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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