High-Priced Drugs Driving Increased Taxpayer Spending, HHS Report Shows

Jan 5, 2017

High-Priced Drugs Driving Increased
Taxpayer Spending, HHS Report Shows

new report out today from the Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General found that high-priced prescription drugs are threatening the sustainability of the taxpayer-funded Medicare Part D program.

According to HHS, “ten high-priced drugs accounted for nearly one-third of all drug spending for catastrophic coverage in 2015.”

It also found that “federal payments for catastrophic coverage exceeded $33 billion in 2015, which is more than triple the amount paid in 2010.”

As HHS explains, catastrophic coverage kicks in when government program beneficiaries “have out-of-pocket costs that exceed a certain threshold. At that point, most beneficiaries pay a 5-percent coinsurance for drugs, while the Federal Government pays the vast majority of the remaining costs.”

“The price tags of these drugs should worry every taxpayer, whether or not they take the prescription,” said John Rother, executive director of the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP). “Today’s report is more evidence that patients and taxpayers urgently need market-based solutions to make medications affordable and fix the broken prescription drug market. President-elect Trump and bipartisan lawmakers have the opportunity to make affordable prescription drugs a priority, and we look forward to collaborating with them to get the prescription drug market working for Americans instead of against them.”

CSRxP has advocated for a set of market-based solutions that would help fix the broken prescription drug market and bring down prices by focusing on increasing competition, transparency, and value.