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Capitol Health Call
January 11, 2006

Lower Drug Prices?

JAMA. 2006;295(2):152. doi:10.1001/jama.295.2.152-b

Despite promises from the Bush administration that the new prescription drug benefit offered through Medicare would help enrollees and taxpayers by keeping drug costs down, a Democratic report found that the opposite might be true.

The report, requested by Henry Waxman (D, Calif), minority leader of the House's Committee on Government Reform, looked at negotiated prices for 10 drugs in the 10 leading Medicare drug plans and compared them with drug prices elsewhere. The report found that drug prices offered by the Medicare drug plans are more than 80% higher than prices negotiated by the federal government for its non-Medicare entities (such as the Department of Veterans Affairs), more than 60% higher than prices paid by consumers in Canada, more than 3% higher than prices offered by online retailers, and almost 3% higher than those found at a large discount retailer.

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