The 10 brand name drugs that cost Medicare Part D the most money in 2013
The HHS' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday released a wide-ranging new dataset detailing physicians' and healthcare providers' drug prescriptions in the Medicare Part D program, including the number of beneficiaries, claims, prescribers, and total costs. UPDATE: It's important to note that this data does not include Part D pharma rebates. The HHS Office of the Inspector General recently called for higher rebates for Part D plans.
As industry observers might anticipate, the most-prescribed drugs in Part D were all generics (generics make up more than 85% of all prescriptions in the U.S.). But among brand name medications, drugs from AstraZeneca (Nexium, Crestor), GlaxoSmithKline (Advair), Bristol-Myers Squibb (Abilify), Eli Lilly (Cymbalta), Boehringer Ingelheim (Spiriva), Actavis (Namenda), Merck (Januvia), Sanofi (Lantus), and Celgene (Revlimid) cost Part D the most money. You can click on the following chart to expand it:
It's interesting to note that just three of these drugs are manufactured by American companies. Furthermore, several of these medications have already begun or will soon begin facing generic competition (including Nexium, Lantus, and most recently, the blockbuster antipsychotic Abilify). Actavis is trying hard to cling to its Alzheimer's med Namenda's profits by instituting a "hard switch" for patients on the current IR version to an XR version of the pill, and Celgene is embroiled in a legal battle that could cut short its patent exclusivity for the multiple myeloma blockbuster Revlimid in Europe.
These drugs' indications aren't too surprising, either, given that Part D serviced elderly Americans. Gastrointestinal disorders, COPD, diabetes, cholesterol maintenance, anemia, cancers, and dementia-related antipsychotics make up the top 10 list.
A variety of blood pressure, heart failure, cholesterol maintenance, and thyroid meds made up the list of most prescribed generic drugs:
As a bonus, CMS also included a map of the U.S. highlighting the massive discrepancies in generic prescriptions throughout the country: