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As Congressional lawmakers push to negotiate prices for Medicare Part D, a new analysis finds the federal government could have saved $14.4 billion on the top 50 pills that were covered two years ago if the program obtained the same prices as the Department of Veterans Affairs, which already haggles for discounts.

For instance, the Part D plan spent $3 billion on the Harvoni hepatitis C treatment sold by Gilead Sciences (GILD) in 2016 – more on this particular pill that year than any other oral medicine – but could have spent $1.7 billion if using VA pricing. Similarly, the program spent $1.8 billion on the Revlimid cancer treatment sold by Celgene  (CELG), but could have spent $1.2 billion with VA prices.


Overall, annual Part D spending on the top 50 pills ranged from $26.3 billion in 2011 to $32.5 billion in 2016. But if Medicare had obtained VA prices, the costs would have been 44 percent lower two years ago. And from 2011 to 2015, the estimated annual savings would have ranged from 38 percent to 50 percent, respectively, according to the analysis, which was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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  • Medicare have the nerve to put on my prescription form that when I pay $47 for my insulin they saved me over $900, I can get in Mexico for $120 which I have to do due to donut hole being achieved very quickly at those ridiculous prices. Clinton negotiated with the pharmaceutical companies that would not let Medicare negotiate with them. This needs to change or we should buy exactly same medications from Mexico and bypass the greedy big business in the U.S

  • If Medicare part D was watching the PBM’s they would have saved 30 Billion
    in 2016. There has to be total transparency dealing with the PBM’s ! That is the ONLY way the government will save money. After all they have no laws governing them. So they really do whatever they want to do. And there are no laws to stop them ! PBM’s want everything to stay the same. If they do stay the same, I can assure you, there will not be one Independent pharmacy left in this country.

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