Researchers at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California San Diego found the cost for the 10 “highest spend” medications in Medicare Part D rose almost one-third between 2011 and 2015. In the same time period, the number of patients treated with at least one of these medications also declined 32 percent.
Fewer patients receive the medications that the federal government is spending the most money on. For patients using the drugs without the benefit of subsidies, the average out-of-pocket cost for one of these 10 medications increased from $375 in 2011 to $1,366 in 2015, according to Jonathan Watanabe, PharmD, PhD, associate professor at UCSD.
The highest spend list in 2015: the top 10 drugs and conditions
- Lepidasvir/Sofosbuvir (hepatitis C)
- Insulin glargine (diabetes)
- Rosuvastatin calcium (cardiovascular disease)
- Fluticasone/Salmeterol (asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Tiotropium bromide (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Sitagliptin phosphate (diabetes)
- Lenalidomide (blood cancers)
- Esomeprazole magnesium (dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux)
- Pregabalin (epilepsy, neuropathic pain, generalized anxiety disorder)
- Adalimumab (arthritis, Crohn’s disease)
Some of these are widely used and advertised. Rrosuvastatin marketed as Crestor, one of a class of statins prescribed for treating high cholesterol. Esomeprazole sells under the brand name Nexium and used to reduce stomach acid and prevent ulcers. Adalimumab marketed as Humira for arthritis and other conditions. Only one medication was a generic drug, atorvastatin, the generic version of the brand name Lipitor.
This is worrisome since the aging US population means more and more Americans will be using the Medicare system for their pharmaceutical needs. The number of Medicare beneficiaries will grow from 59 million in 2017 to 81 million in 2030, compounded by a declining worker-to-Medicare beneficiary ratio.
At this time, one in every six dollars spent in Medicare is on medications. And spending on expensive, specialty medications will likely grow with more approved drugs and a larger population that requires them. The study concludes, “since Medicare Part D is funded by enrollee paid premiums in addition to Congressional appropriations from general revenue, Part D enrollees may expect to face higher premiums on top of increasing copayments or coinsurance payments.”
11 Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week!
Why Secure Passwords Matter and How to Create Them
10 Ways to Celebrate International Women’s Day
Becoming a Great Podcast Host with Celeste Headlee
New Guiding Principles for Opportunity Zone Investors
Leaders: Do You Challenge Your Status Quo?
9 Marketing Trends That Will Dominate This Year
How To Keep Envy From Destroying Your Workplace
6 Tips to Help Your Journey to Retirement
Who Do You Sell to First
Forward-Looking Investing1 day ago
Moat Investing: Powered by Morningstar
Market Strategist1 day ago
We Are Not Convinced the Market Storm Has Completely Passed
Development1 day ago
Advisors: How To Answer “What Do You Do?”
Markets2 days ago
Higher Mortgage Rates, Student Loans and Nike
Equities2 days ago
7 Stocks That Pay the Largest Dividends of All That Trade on Nasdaq – Or Do They?
Advisor2 days ago
The Wizards of Wall Street vs. The Selbees from Michigan
Markets3 days ago
The Chameleons Are on the Run
Compliance3 days ago
Regulators Focusing on How Firms Identify, Monitor and Test Custody Scenarios With Client Assets