Surge in Prescription Costs Hit Medicare in 2014

The Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2015
by Peter Loftus

Hefty price increases for a number of prescription drugs contributed to higher spending by the U.S. Medicare program in 2014, according to new government data released Monday.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services identified at least five drugs that were covered under Medicare’s Part D drug benefit and had increases of 100% or more in cost per unit from 2013 to 2014. At the top of the list was Vimovo, a pain reliever whose cost-per-unit rose more than 500% after Horizon Pharma PLC purchased rights to the drug from AstraZeneca.

Vimovo was one of the drugs highlighted in an April article in The Wall Street Journal about drug makers buying old products and substantially raising prices. Medicare Part D spending on Vimovo rose to $38.9 million in 2014 from $7.3 million in 2013, CMS said.