Medicare beneficiaries bought fewer branded drugs in the last five years, but they paid more for them due to price hikes, according to the HHS Office of Inspector General.
Overall prescriptions from Medicare Part D patients’ fell 17 percent between 2011 and 2015, but total reimbursement for brand-name drugs in Part D increased 77 percent in the same period, the OIG reported. Controlling for manufacturer rebates only made a slight dent, reducing the brand-name drug reimbursement hike to 62 percent.
For the majority of Part D drugs that saw actual use decrease from 2011 to 2015, unit costs still increased 38 percent. For those drugs that did not see reduced use, unit costs increased at a lower rate of 23 percent, the OIG found. Of nearly 3,600 drugs Part D reimbursed in the five years covered by the research, 89 percent saw unit cost increases.