What We're Reading: Generic Drug Prices Declined in 2015

What we're reading, December 30, 2015: most commonly used generic drugs were cheaper at the end of 2015, meanwhile the FDA has a huge backlog of generic drug applications, and few states are expected to expand Medicaid in 2016.

While price hikes for drugs became a topic of much focus in 2015, the reality is that despite the fact that prescription drug spending increased and will continue to grow, many commonly used generic drugs were actually cheaper at the end of the year compared to the beginning. The Washington Post reported that 30 of the 50 most popular generic drugs have declined in price, but Americans are paying more out-of-pocket costs.

Meanwhile, the FDA has a huge backlog of 4300 generic drug applications awaiting approval, according to STAT. The FDA has blamed drugmakers for slowing the process with sloppy and incomplete applications. While many of the backlogged drugs have recently entered the pipeline, some go back to 2009.

Finally, with 20 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the Washington Examiner is expecting few changes in 2016. Governors in only 3 states—South Dakota, Wyoming, and Louisiana—are expected to push for the program’s expansion. With a Democratic governor, Louisiana is the most likely to first make a change. Other states have recently had fierce debates over the right move, but ultimately ended up deadlocked.