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Invited Commentary
January 14, 2019

Managing the Cost of Medicare Part B Drugs: Implications for the Program and Beneficiaries

Author Affiliations
  • 1Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Washington, DC
  • 2University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, Minnesota
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(3):380-382. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.6146

In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Hwang et al1 assess the costs to beneficiaries of implementing a draft proposal by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)2 to reduce Medicare Part B costs. The plan would move certain expensive administered drugs from coverage under Medicare Part B to coverage under Medicare Part D. Medicare Part B covers drugs that are administered by infusion or injection in physician offices or hospital outpatient departments; Part D covers outpatient prescription drugs.

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    1 Comment for this article
    Cost of medication
    Harry Magnani, MB, BS, MSc, MSc, PhD | retired physician, independent clinical consultant.
    It is disappointing to read that the MedPAC proposals for the Drug Value Program do not include restriction of the initial prices of drugs by the pharmaceutical industry, including subsequent price hikes. It seems ridiculous that the cumulative increase in the cost of medicines far outstrips inflation. Many drugs are overpriced even considering development costs and return on investment. The only happy people in this sad tale are the shareholders.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: I work for responsible Pharma in my retirement