From Our 2010 Archives

Rising Drug Prices Slam Some Medicare Recipients

FRIDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Medicare 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.

-- Robert Preidt

Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation, news release, March 16, 2010





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