Drug Costs

Prescription Drug Price Gouging

Now that Maryland’s first-in-the-nation prescription drug price gouging law is in place, the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative is taking steps to be sure that those who might have been victims know there’s a place to be heard.  If you or someone you know takes a prescription drug that has seen unjustifiable price increases, let them know here.  They will pass along stories to the Office of the Attorney General to take action when appropriate.

Dashboards Improve Transparency of Drug Prices

CMS announced a redesigned version of its Drug Spending Dashboards. For the first time, the dashboards include year-over-year information on drug pricing and highlight which manufacturers have been increasing their prices, an important step to bringing transparency and accountability to what has been a largely hidden process.  The dashboards are interactive online tools that allow patients, clinicians, researchers, and the public to understand trends in drug spending. Data is reported for both Medicare and Medicaid. The new version of the dashboard reports the percentage change in spending on drugs per dosage unit and includes an expanded list of drugs.  In 2012, Medicare spent 17 percent of its total budget, or $109 billion, on prescription drugs. By 2016, spending had increased to 23 percent, or $174 billion.

CMS also updated its Part D Prescriber Public Use File with data for 2016. This file includes summarized information on more than one million distinct health care providers who prescribed drugs under the Part D program in 2016.  None of these CMS releases include any patient-identifiable data.