How much did Medicare spend on hepatitis C meds in 2014?

the Clinical Advisor take:

In 2014, Medicare spent more than 15 times what it had spent than in 2013 on hepatitis C medications, according to an article from The Washington Post.

The program, known as Part D, is largely funded by federal tax money. The spending surge is attributed to the introduction of new hepatitis C drugs such as sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) — which costs $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment. Medicare also spent $157 million on older hepatitis C drugs, noted the Washington Post.

“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,” explained Sean Cavanaugh, director of Medicare and deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Looking toward the future, new hepatitis C treatments may continue to increase the program’s costs; however, government officials have said they are “watching the costs carefully, and early indications suggest that this year’s spending is on track to match or even exceed last year’s,” Cavanaugh noted.

Many Medicaid programs and private insurance companies practice a restrictive approach towards hepatitis C drugs compared with Medicare, according to the article. Patients are often required to have advanced liver disease to qualify for treatment.

The newest hepatitis C treatments have a 90% higher cure rate compared with previous treatments, and come with fewer harmful side effects.

“Some studies have shown that, despite their price tag, the drugs justify their cost based on the better quality of life they provide and the health expenses that patients avoid in the future.”

How much did Medicare spend on hepatitis C meds in 2014?
How much did Medicare spend on hepatitis C meds in 2014?

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.

READ FULL ARTICLE From Washington Post
Loading links....
You must be a registered member of Clinical Advisor to post a comment.

2016 Upcoming Meetings

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters