Americans spend a lot on prescription drugs. It’s not just because Americans take a lot of medications, either. Prescriptions cost more in the U.S. than they do in other countries. In order to address this problem, many have called for greater price transparency. In an effort to provide this, CMS has recently unveiled its new Drug Spending Dashboards.
High Prescription Costs
According to CNN, the International Federation of Health Plans crunched the numbers and found that brand name prescriptions cost two to six times more than the U.S. than in the rest of the world.
Some drugs have experienced price surges in recent years. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the cost of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013. The EpiPen, a lifesaving drug for individuals with severe allergic reactions, went from $93.88 in 2007 to $608.61 in 2016, according to Business Insider.
According to CMS, some of the most common drugs taken by Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries have undergone double-digit annual price increases in recent years.
The high cost is more than a financial burden – it’s also a health problem. According to a survey from West Health Institute, many Americans skip health care because they can’t afford it. One out of three respondents admitted to either not filling a prescription or taking less than prescribed because of the cost.
The New Dashboards
CMS has unveiled new versions of the Drug Spending Dashboards. The new design includes year-over-year data on prescription drug cost. It also makes it easy to see which manufacturers are raising their costs.
There are four new interactive tools:
- Medicare Part D Drug Spending Dashboard
- Medicare Part B Drug Spending Dashboard
- Medicaid Drug Spending Dashboard
- Part D Manufacturer Rebate Summary Report
The Drug Spending Dashboards provide average spending per dosage unit as well as the change in average spending over time and manufacturer-level spending information. It also includes simple descriptions of the drugs.
The Part D Manufacturer Rebate Summary Report provides information on manufacturer rebates, summarized based on therapeutic class.
According to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, “Under President Trump’s bold leadership, CMS is committed to putting patients first and increasing transparency. Publishing how much individual drugs cost from one year to the next will provide much-needed clarity and will empower patients and doctors with the information they need. As Secretary Azar has repeatedly pointed out, for years Medicare incentives have actually encouraged higher list prices for drugs, and this updated and enhanced dashboard is an important step to bringing transparency and accountability to what has been a largely hidden process.”
You can read more about the Drug Spending Dashboards and access them through the CMS site.