"The rising cost of prescription medicines is putting pressure on public and family budgets in the United States," the office said in its issue brief.
The office noted that a recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation "found that the affordability of prescription drugs tops the public's list of priorities for the president and Congress."
The issue brief pointed out that in some cases, the use of particular drugs might lead to reduced spending in other health sectors, such as in hospitals, because of "fewer acute health events occurring as a result of medication use."
But "evidence suggest that a rise in prescription drug therapy tends to raise" overall health expenditures "rather than lower them," the brief said.
Another issue brief released by the same office Tuesday said that Medicare's Part B program, which among other things covers infusible and injectable drug and biologic treatment by doctors, gives physicians "weak incentives" to consider lower-cost drug therapies to effectively treat a patient.
The brief said the federal Medicare program "has not implemented various value based practices typically used by commercial insurers" and the sponsors of Medicare's Part D prescription benefit program for self-administered drugs.
"There is growing concern that several features of the current Part B program do not create appropriate incentive for either providers, suppliers or patients to make high value choices among treatment options," according to the brief.
At the same time that brief was released, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it is proposing to test new models "to improve how Medicare Part B pays for prescription drugs," suggesting those models might help lower drug spending in the program over time.
The proposed payment models would affect Medicare payments for many specialty drugs, said Dr. Patrick Conway, acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer of CMS.
During a briefing with reporters, Conway said the initial proposed changes to payment models were designed to be "budget neutral."
But in the future they might "lead to savings" by incentivizing doctors to use "higher-value drugs that provide better outcomes to patients," he said.