ARTICLE | Politics & Policy

GAO report highlights Part B drug costs

November 24, 2015 4:00 AM UTC

A U.S. Government Accountability Office Lucentis ranibizumab, Eylea aflibercept and Prolia denosumab -- accounted for 53% of the $5.9 billion spent by Medicare Part B and its beneficiaries on new drugs in 2013. Lucentis from the Genentech Inc. unit of Roche (SIX:ROG; OTCQX:RHHBY) and Eylea from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:REGN) are marketed to treat ophthalmic indications. Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) markets Prolia to treat osteoporosis.

The GAO report noted that Medicare patients who do not have Medigap insurance policies are responsible for 20% of Part B drug costs. Annual beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses in 2013 were $9,400 for Lucentis, $9,900 for Eylea, and $2,800 Prolia. Annual out-of-pocket expenses for Part B beneficiaries for 11 Orphan drugs ranged from $10,000 to $91,000. ...