December 23, 2015
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CMS launches online Medicare prescription drug spending resource

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched an interactive resource with information about Medicare spending on prescription drugs, the agency announced in a press release.

The Medicare Drug Spending Dashboard provides information on prescription drug spending for Medicare part B and part D.

In November, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services held a forum for consumers, providers, employers, manufacturers, state and local government representatives, and other stakeholders to discuss drug development, innovation, access and affordability.

“Having this information available to the public in an accessible format should inform health care decisions [and] policy considerations and encourage collective problem solving around these important issues,” the release said.

The Drug Spending Dashboard includes six lists comprising 80 drugs: three lists for Medicare part B and three for Medicare part D.

The resource lists the top 15 drugs by total annual cost, the top 15 drugs by highest spending per Medicare beneficiary and the top 10 drugs with the highest annual increase in cost in 2014.

There is information on each prescription drug, including the name of the manufacturer, with access to key details and data.

According to CMS, the 80 prescription drugs included in the Drug Spending Dashboard represent 33% of all part D spending and 71% of all part B drug spending in 2014, or $55 billion of more than $143 billion that Medicare spent on prescription drugs in 2014.

Prescription drug spending in parts B and D was 14% of total Medicare spending in 2014, an increase of 11% since 2010.

In addition, the five Medicare part D drugs with the highest total drug spending accounted for more than $2 billion in spending in part D in 2014 and more than $1 billion in part D spending in 2013, the release said.

The Drug Spending Dashboard does not include information about net prices paid to manufacturers or rebates to insurance plans and prescription benefit managers. CMS is not permitted to disclose rebates paid by manufacturers to part D plan sponsors. Medicare does not receive rebates in part B but pays 106% of the estimated average sales price of each drug. – by Matt Hasson

For more information:

The Medicare Drug Spending Dashboard is available at: https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Information-on-Prescription-Drugs