Rising Drug Prices Slam Some Medicare Recipients

By on March 19, 2010

FRIDAY, March 19Medicare Part D Plan coverage gap prices for widely used brand name drugs rose in 2010, and price increases since 2006 have far exceeded the rate of inflation, a new study finds.

Kaiser Family Foundation researchers checked the Medicare Web site for prices of commonly used brand-name drugs without a generic substitute for enrollees in stand-alone prescription drug plans. The prices are how much enrollees would pay for a 30-day supply of a drug after they reach the coverage gap (which begins after total drug spending reaches $3,610) and before they qualify for catastrophic coverage.

Among the findings:

  • The price of the osteoporosis drug Actonel increased 8 percent between 2009 and 2010, from $91 to $98 per month. Since 2006, the price of the drug has increased 39 percent.
  • The price of the Alzheimer’s drug Aricept increased 7 percent between 2009 and 2010, from $184 to $198 per month. Since 2006, the price has increased 41 percent.
  • The price of the anti-clotting drug Plavix increased 7 percent between 2009 and 2010, from $142 to $152 per month. Since 2006, the price has risen 25 percent.

People enrolled in Part D plans who reach the coverage gap have significant out-of-pocket expenses before they qualify for catastrophic coverage, the researchers said in a Kaiser news release. For example, an elderly women taking Actonel, Aricept and Plavix would spend $448 per month in 2010 after she reached the coverage gap, which would take about six months. She would remain in the coverage gap for the rest of the year.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Source: HealthDay

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