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What are the top 20 priciest Medicare prescription drugs?

/ 09:23 PM July 24, 2016
In this June 14, 2011 file photo, various prescription drugs on the automated pharmacy assembly line at Medco Health Solutions in Willingboro, N.J. A safeguard for Medicare beneficiaries has become a way for drugmakers to get paid billions of dollars for pricey medications at taxpayer expense, government numbers show. The cost of Medicare’s “catastrophic” prescription coverage jumped by 85 percent in three years, from $27.7 billion in 2013 to $51.3 billion in 2015, according to the program’s number-crunching Office of the Actuary. AP

In this June 14, 2011 file photo, various prescription drugs on the automated pharmacy assembly line at Medco Health Solutions in Willingboro, N.J. A safeguard for Medicare beneficiaries has become a way for drugmakers to get paid billions of dollars for pricey medications at taxpayer expense, government numbers show. The cost of Medicare’s “catastrophic” prescription coverage jumped by 85 percent in three years, from $27.7 billion in 2013 to $51.3 billion in 2015, according to the program’s number-crunching Office of the Actuary. AP

A look at Medicare’s top 20 priciest prescription drugs in 2015, ranked by their cost above the program’s “catastrophic” coverage threshold.

Medicare’s catastrophic protection kicks in after a beneficiary has spent a given amount of their own money, $4,850 this year.

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The beneficiary pays only 5 percent, while their insurer pays 15 percent, and taxpayers cover 80 percent. Catastrophic spending is a large and growing share of total costs, threatening to make Medicare’s popular prescription plan financially unsustainable.

Drug Name         Uses                                      Cost

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Harvoni                                Hepatitis C                          $6.3 billion

Revlimid               Cancer                                  $1.7 billion

Sovaldi                  Hepatitis C                          $1.2 billion

Copaxone           Multiple sclerosis             $1.1 billion

Gleevec                               Cancer                                  $1 billion

Humira Pen        Rheumatoid arthritis      $886 million

Tecfidera             Multiple sclerosis             $724 million

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Renvela                Kidney disease                  $675 million

Xtandi                   Prostate Cancer                $633 million

Lantus Solostar Diabetes                              $633 million

Zytiga                    Prostate cancer                                $623 million

Enbrel Sureclick                Rheumatoid arthritis      $586 million

Abilify                   Mental illness                    $555 million

Sensipar               Kidney disease                  $533 million

Truvada                HIV                                         $525 million

Aripiprazole        Mental illness                    $504 million

Lantus                   Diabetes                              $484 million

Imbruvica            Cancer                                  $473 million

H.P. Acthar         Multiple sclerosis             $467 million

Lyrica                     Seizures                               $461 million

Some medications have additional uses.

Cost above catastrophic threshold in 2015; includes spending by taxpayers, insurers and beneficiaries.

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary

TVJ

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TAGS: Health, Medicare, Medicine, Prescription Drugs, Science
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