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As more emphasis is placed on the value of prescription medicines, a new study found cost-effectiveness analyses were unavailable for many of the medicines that accounted for a large share of Medicare Part D spending in 2016. And more than half of the analyses that were conducted failed to meet minimum standards.

Specifically, cost-effectiveness was not studied for 115 of the 250 drugs for which Part D spending was greatest in 2016, the last year for which complete data was available when the study began. Those medicines accounted for 33% of the $146.1 billion in total Part D spending that year, according to the study published in JAMA Network Open.


Moreover, of the 135 drugs for which cost effectiveness studies were conducted, only one-fifth were included in studies of more than average quality. Put another way, only one-third of the spending on the top Part D drugs was for medicines included in cost-effectiveness studies of higher quality. And studies that met all of the quality metrics were only available for 11% of the entire 250 drugs.

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