Medicare spent $4.5 billion last year on new, pricey medications that
cure the liver disease hepatitis C — more than 15 times what it spent
the year before on older treatments for the disease, previously
undisclosed federal data shows.
The extraordinary outlays for
these breakthrough drugs, which can cost $1,000 a day or more, will be
borne largely by federal taxpayers, who pay for most of Medicare’s
prescription drug program. But the expenditures will also mean higher
deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket costs for many of the program’s
39 million seniors and disabled enrollees, who pay a smaller share of
its cost, experts and federal officials said.
The spending dwarfs
the approximately $286 million that the program, known as Part D, spent
on earlier-generation hepatitis C drugs in 2013, said Sean Cavanaugh,
director of Medicare and deputy administrator at the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Labels: cost of drugs, Medicare Part D