Today the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a report detailing the prescription drugs with the highest spending during 2014 in the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. The report shows that the costliest drugs for Medicare have had repeated price hikes over many years without improvements or justification.
“If you didn’t think high prescription drug prices affected you, this report should be a wakeup call,” said John Rother, executive director of the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing (CSRxP). “Prescription drug prices rise faster than inflation every year and taxpayers are footing the bill for these higher prices. Even if you don’t take a medication, you’re paying for it.”
The price of prescription drug Abilify, an antipsychotic, went up 113 percent between 2007 and 2014. The report shows Medicare shelled out $2.5 billion to treat more than 400,000 patients using the medication in 2014, making it the drug with the third highest spending in the report.
The drug with the fourth highest spending by Medicare in 2014 was Crestor which is used to treat high cholesterol. Crestor’s price rose 103 percent between 2007 and 2014, and Medicare spending on Crestor totaled $2.5 billion for nearly 1.8 million patients.
Prices for Spiriva, which is used to treat patients with COPD, rose 126 percent between 2007 and 2014. The total cost to Medicare was $2.1 billion in 2014 to treat 1.2 million beneficiaries, ranking it among the top 10 prescription drugs based on total spending in the report.
“Congress has the ability to fix the broken prescription drug market to make prices more sustainable, but it’s going to take action,” said Rother. “Until patients and taxpayers have more transparency, competition, and value in the market, we will continue to see drug prices climb.”