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Capitol Health Call
January 12, 2016

GAO Reports Costs of New Medicare Part B Drugs in 2013

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2016;315(2):122. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.18246

More than half of the money spent in 2013 for 75 new drugs covered by Medicare Part B went toward only 3 of them, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (http://1.usa.gov/1N0OnCq).

Those 3 drugs were Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Eylea (aflibercept), both of which are used to treat macular degeneration and macular edema, and Prolia (denosumab), which is used to treat osteoporosis. The expenditures for these 3 drugs accounted for 53% of the $5.9 billion Medicare and its beneficiaries spent in 2013 on 75 Part B drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration since 2006. Of the 75 new drugs, the 20 most expensive cost $51 000 to $536 000 per beneficiary in 2013.