National trends in prescription drug expenditures and projections for 2023

Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2023 Jul 7;80(14):899-913. doi: 10.1093/ajhp/zxad086.


Purpose: To report historical patterns of pharmaceutical expenditures, to identify factors that may influence future spending, and to predict growth in drug spending in 2023 in the United States, with a focus on the nonfederal hospital and clinic sectors.

Methods: Historical patterns were assessed by examining data on drug purchases from manufacturers using the IQVIA National Sales Perspectives database. Factors that may influence drug spending in hospitals and clinics in 2023 were reviewed, including new drug approvals, patent expirations, and potential new policies or legislation. Focused analyses were conducted for biosimilars, cancer drugs, diabetes medications, generics, COVID-19 pandemic influence, and specialty drugs. For nonfederal hospitals, clinics, and overall (all sectors), estimates of growth of pharmaceutical expenditures in 2023 were based on a combination of quantitative analyses and expert opinion.

Results: In 2022, overall pharmaceutical expenditures in the US grew 9.4% compared to 2021, for a total of $633.5 billion. Utilization (a 5.9% increase), price (a 1.7% increase) and new drugs (a 1.8% increase) drove this increase. Adalimumab was the top-selling drug in 2022, followed by semaglutide and apixaban. Drug expenditures were $37.2 billion (a 5.9% decrease) and $116.9 billion (a 10.4% increase) in nonfederal hospitals and clinics, respectively. In clinics, new products and increased utilization growth drove growth, with a small impact from price changes. In nonfederal hospitals, a drop in utilization led to a decrease in expenditures, with price changes and new drugs contributing to growth in spending. Several new drugs that will influence spending have been or are expected to be approved in 2023. Specialty and cancer drugs will continue to drive expenditures along with the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusion: For 2023, we expect overall prescription drug spending to rise by 6.0% to 8.0%, whereas in clinics and hospitals we anticipate increases of 8.0% to 10.0% and 1.0% to 3.0%, respectively, compared to 2022. These national estimates of future pharmaceutical expenditure growth may not be representative of any particular health system because of the myriad of local factors that influence actual spending.

Keywords: COVID-19; biosimilars; cancer drugs; diabetes therapies; drug expenditures; pandemic; public policy.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents*
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals*
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Drug Costs
  • Health Expenditures
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Prescription Drugs*
  • United States


  • Prescription Drugs
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals
  • Antineoplastic Agents