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CMS releases more cost data for Part D drugs

August 22, 2016
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released new data on the cost of drugs under its Part D Prescription Drug Program.

The latest data set, based on 2014 utilization of Part D medications, represents $121 billion in prescription drugs for about 38 million seniors using Part D benefits, some 70 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries. The report is the second for 2016, following the  March 8 report.

Source: CMS fact sheet

Medicare’s drug spending depends greatly on the fluctuating cost of the drugs themselves. In terms of highest increase in cost between 2013 and 2014, the diabetes-fighting Lantus Solostar and Lantus insulin products take first and second place, at 47 percent and 32 percent, respectively.  Other drugs whose costs increased significantly include Revlimid, Januvia, Abilify and Crestor. Sovaldi, the hepatitis C drug that gained notoriety for is exorbitant manufacturer price, was too new to be included in the data.

The data sets are being released to further government transparency in Medicare drug costs, as well as to allow for analysis of prescribing habits, the comparison of generics vs. brand names, the use of high-risk drugs among the elderly, and other trends, according to Niall Brennan, CMS Chief Data Officer.

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