Nexium Costliest Drug Prescribed in Medicare Part D, CMS Data Show

May 7, 2015

AstraZeneca’s acid-reflux drug Nexium was the highest-costing drug prescribed under Medicare Part D in 2013, totaling $2.5 billion, according to new data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Of the top five drugs by cost, Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium) was followed by GlaxoSmithKline’s asthma drug Advair Diskus (Advair) at $2.3 billion, AstraZeneca’s cholesterol therapy Crestor (rosuvastatin) at $2.2 billion, Otsuka’s antipsychotic Abilify (aripiprazole) at $2.1 billion and Eli Lilly’s anxiety drug Cymbalta (duloxetine HCl) at $2 billion.

Meanwhile, the top five most-prescribed drugs under Part D were blood pressure drug lisinopril with 36.8 million claims, cholesterol drug simvastatin with 36.7 million claims, hypothyroidism drug levothyroxine sodium with 35.2 million claims, pain drug hydrocodone-acetaminophen with 34.8 million claims and blood pressure drug amlodipine besylate with 34.6 million claims.

More than 1 million providers prescribed drugs costing roughly $103 billion in 2013, according to the data.

Access the CMS data at www.fdanews.com/05-15-CMS-Data.pdf. — Jonathon Shacat