Total reimbursement for brand-name prescription drugs in Medicare Part D increased 77% between 2011 and 2015, nearly six times faster than inflation, despite a 17% decrease in the number of prescriptions, according to a report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. The share of beneficiaries with at least $2,000 in annual out-of-pocket costs for brand-name drugs nearly doubled over the five-year period to 7.3%. “Generally, plan sponsors base their reimbursement amounts on the prices that manufacturers set for their drugs,” OIG said. “Therefore, increasing manufacturer prices for brand-name drugs may result in increasing costs for Medicare and its beneficiaries, especially those beneficiaries who need access to expensive maintenance drugs.”

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