Human Resources

Aon Rx Coalition

The Soaring Cost of Pharmaceuticals

Prescription drug manufacturers are consistently investing in research and development—with remarkable results. Pharmaceutical advancements are enabling people to lead longer, happier, healthier lives. But such innovations come with a hefty price tag, particularly for those facing chronic or catastrophic illnesses for which specialized medications can be prohibitively expensive. As our population ages, the problem only threatens to get worse, as older patients often are prescribed more long-term medications than the general population.

As organizations struggle to control health care expenditures, the rising cost of prescription drugs poses a significant hurdle. Pharmacy costs account for up to 30 percent of an organization’s overall health care spend. Spending on prescription medicines in the United States is projected to increase 4 percent to 7 percent through 2021, according to Quintiles IMS Holdings, Inc., which compiles data for the pharmaceutical industry. Unfortunately, most benefit managers lack the specialized expertise to manage these rising costs and optimize purchase power.

Potential unmanaged employer pharmacy costs are projected to grow by 100% from 2014 to 2020, according to Aon analysis.

Specialty drug costs continue to soar and are expected to increase at least 10% annually over the next few years, and may represent 50% of drug costs by 2018.

Pharmaceutical manufacturer strategies are designed to drive sales of products and keep members on higher cost brand drugs.

Further consolidation in the pharmacy benefit management (PBM) industry has resulted in three major players with 75% of the total US market.

Many employers feel like a small fish in the large PBM pond, with little clout and not enough visibility into PBM practices.

Aon Rx Coalition

Join the Aon Rx Coalition and become part of a powerful coalition of more than 300 employers with 500 to 50,000 members. Collectively, these entities have the same purchasing power as an organization with an annual drug spend of at least $1.8 billion, giving you access to industry-leading pricing, terms, and conditions. Your organization will reap many benefits, including:

  • Greater purchasing power through the leverage of multiple employers
  • Stronger negotiation position with PBM
  • Expert support to navigate pharmacy complexities
  • PBM contracting provides enhanced service terms, strong performance guarantees, and aggressive pricing

About the Aon Rx Coalition

Maintaining sustainable pharmaceutical costs requires a multi-faceted approach, based on years of expertise, carefully crafted offerings, and a deep breadth of knowledge. Aon’s Rx Coalition is based around three main components:


Aon’s “managed competition” approach of offering three PBM choices (CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, and OptumRx) allows you to move beyond pricing and select a PBM based on other factors.


We offer a deeply discounted group purchasing arrangement for self-funded plan sponsors, delivering plan design flexibility, best-in-class terms and conditions, and choice of pricing structure.


Aon’s Pharmacy Team brings years of experience and clinical and market/vendor knowledge to address your challenges. From core consulting support to comprehensive consulting support (available to companies with 5,000+ members), our highly experienced team of pharmacy consultants provides the following expertise:

  • Annual market check, renewal and contract negotiations
  • Oversight of PBM performance, including financial and performance guarantee tracking
  • Complete management of PBM relationships
  • Innovative thought leadership focused on new and evolving solutions for your consideration