Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pharma Profits Sky High From Medicare Part D

by Ronni Bennet

According to U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform investigators, prices for the ten most prescribed, brand-name drugs under Medicare Part D climbed 6.8 percent in just four months – from mid-December 2006 to mid-April 2007.

The price of my one drug of choice or, rather, my physician’s choice for me – Lipitor – increased by 9.6 percent during the same period, from $76.91 for a month’s supply to $84.27, and the list price has climbed by five percent.

[The reason the list price is less than the actual increase has to do with rebates drug companies pay the Part D insurance companies. If you really want to know, you can read Jonathan Weisman’s story in the Washington Post.]

Of course, Part D subscribers’ co-payments are less than that full price – until they hit the doughnut hole during which they pay all drug costs until they reach the $3600 out-of-pocket limit when Part D kicks in again. So those who reach the doughnut hole will be paying more now.
Because most Part D subscribers have a fixed co-payment those who, like me, do not reach the doughnut hole, will see no change in their cost - this year. Premiums are likely to increase in 2008.

Abridged Read it all here >>

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