White House targets blockbusters in Medicare’s price negotiation strategy

Photo by Tabrez Syed on Unsplash

The Biden-Harris Administration has nominated 10 drugs for price negotiations directly with pharmaceutical giants after capping monthly insulin costs at $35.

Americans have historically paid more for prescription drugs than most other major economies. In a fact sheet, the White House highlighted that seniors paid $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs for these drugs just last year. Biden, like Trump before him, aim to bring prices more in line with those of other advanced nations.

This move is not isolated. The Biden Administration has implemented other cost-saving measures, such as reining in the cost of insulin and making some vaccines free for Medicare beneficiaries.

All of the 10 drugs on the list were blockbusters. Eight of the 10 were among the bestselling drugs of 2022. The remaining two are insulin formulations from Novo Nordisk: Fiasp and NovoLog.

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Prices of top 25 Medicare Part D drugs more than doubled since market entry; AARP offers new insights in drug pricing report

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Medicare Part D drug prices have seen a significant surge in recent years. The price of the arthritis drug Enbrel has soared 701% since its launch in 1998, and the diabetes drug Januvia has jumped 275% since its debut 2006. All in all, the average price increase for the 25 brand-name drugs with the highest Medicare Part D spending in 2021 was 226%, noted AARP in a recent drug pricing report.

Such attention-grabbing stats aren’t isolated cases, but part of a bigger picture. Almost 60% of the current list price for the top 25 drugs is a result of price increases post launch. “On average, the prices of the 25 top Medicare Part D drugs have more than tripled since they first entered the market,” said Leigh Purvis, director, health care costs and access at AARP, in a media briefing. “Some of the prices are more than eight times higher than they were when they launched.”

The economic…
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