Medicare Launches New Tool to Analyze High-Cost Drugs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched its online “Medicare Drug Spending Dashboard” in an effort to increase transparency and address the affordability of prescription drugs in the United States.

The Dashboard allows the public to compare 80 prescription drugs covered under both Medicare Part D and Part B, including drugs with high spending on a per-user basis, high spending for the program overall, and those with high unit-cost increases in recent years.

The drugs included on the Dashboard represent 33 percent of all Medicare Part D drug spending and 71 percent of Medicare Part B drug spending in 2014. The tool displays relevant spending, use, and trend data, and also includes consumer-friendly information on the drug product descriptions, manufacturer, and uses.

Products have been selected from each respective program area based on the following criteria:

  • The drug is ranked as one of the top 15 drugs as defined by total program spending (for either Part B or D).
  • The drug is associated with a high annual per-user spending based on claims data analyses (e.g., greater than $10,000 per user) and is ranked in the top 15 by overall program spending.
  • The drug is ranked among the top 10 high unit-cost increases.

Data from 2014 drug expenditures were analyzed to create this dashboard. CMS plans to update the list regularly and launch a version for Medicaid drug spending next year.

For more information on this online tool, click here.

Sources: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services news release, December 21, 2015; Associated Press, “Medicare unveiling online tool to analyze costly drugs,” December 21, 2015.

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