High cost hepatitis C medications take a toll on Medicare.
Federal officials have long fretted about the mounting cost of prescription drugs for Medicare and other government agencies – especially the newer pricey miracle drugs for the treatment of the Hepatitis-C virus, the potentially deadly liver disease that affects millions of Americans.
A recent annual report of the Medicare Board of Trustees documenting the alarming trends in spending on prescription drugs more than validates their concerns.
Prescription drugs accounted for $97 billion in Medicare spending on seniors in 2014, or nearly 16 percent of all Medicare expenditures that year. Spending on Hepatitis-C virus more than doubled in just five months from just $421 million in November 2014 – shortly after the first of the new drugs had entered the market – to $864 million in March 2015. Spending on the drugs tapered off to $793 million in mid-2015. But officials are bracing for another surge in spending as more and more patients seek the benefits of the new drugs.
Hepatitis-C affects at least 2.7 million people in this country and was responsible for more than 19,000 deaths in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts say the virus often develops slowly over a number of years and many may not realize they have it until they see the early signs of liver damage.
Read Full Article: Medicare Spending on Hepatitis-C Drugs More than Doubled
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