A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office details pricing and spending trends for prescription drugs. Of particular interest are pricing changes for brand-name prescription drugs in Medicare Part D.
Some key findings from the report include:
- From 2009 to 2018, the average net price (which is the cost after discounts and rebates given to private insurers and federal programs) of brand-name prescription drugs increased from $149 to $353 in Medicare Part D
- Over the same period, the average price for generic drugs in Medicare Part D fell
- Per enrollee use of prescription drugs increased from an average of 48 prescriptions per year in 2009 to 54 in 2018 in Medicare Part D
- The share of prescriptions for generic drugs increased from 72% in 2009 to 90% in 2018 in Medicare Part D
Congress is seeking to address the issue of rising prices for brand-name prescription drugs. Possible solutions include allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for some expensive drugs, forcing drug makers to issue rebates if their prices rise quicker than inflation, establishing an out-of-pocket spending cap for seniors, and implementing a cap on the cost of insulin. It is unclear if any of these measures will be signed into law.
To view the complete report on prescription drugs from the Congressional Budget Office, visit https://www.cbo.gov/publication/57050.