BioCentury on BioBusiness,
Politics and Policy
HHS: Give Medicare more power to control drug costs; Congress unlikely to do so
Monday, September 12, 2011
After comparing the costs of Genentech
Inc.'s Avastin bevacizumab and Lucentis ranibizumab to treat wet AMD,
the HHS inspector general has called for giving Medicare more power to control
drug spending. It is the latest in a long history of calls for CMS to deny
coverage of one drug in favor of a less expensive alternative. But given its
current makeup, Congress looks unlikely to make the legal change required for
the agency to implement such a policy.
Last week's Office of Inspector
General (OIG) report documented the difference in acquisition costs for
Lucentis and Avastin for wet age-related macular degeneration. The report said
using Avastin instead of Lucentis for two years during 2008 and 2009 would have
saved Medicare Part B $1.1 billion, while beneficiaries would have saved $275
million in co-payments.
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