Drugs could account for more health spending than we thought

Adapted from Yu, Atteberry, and Bach, Health Affairs, 2018; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Prescription drugs could make up close to 15% of total health care spending, rather than 10% that's often attributed to them, according to a new report published in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: Other estimates focused on pharmaceutical companies, but the new report takes into account drugs administered by doctors and the profits of third parties like pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers. Those middlemen are under intense scrutiny from the Trump administration, but still make up a much smaller share of drug revenues than drugmakers themselves.