Breakthrough Hep C Drugs Spike Medicare Costs By $4.5 Billion
Consumers also face the high cost of prescription drugs. Many will turn to discount programs that claim big savings, but some pharmacists tell buyers to beware.
ProPublica/The Washington Post:
New Hepatitis C Drugs Are Costing Medicare Billions
Medicare spent $4.5 billion last year on new, pricey medications that cure the liver disease hepatitis C — more than 15 times what it spent the year before on older treatments for the disease, previously undisclosed federal data shows. The extraordinary outlays for these breakthrough drugs, which can cost $1,000 a day or more, will be borne largely by federal taxpayers, who pay for most of Medicare’s prescription drug program. But the expenditures will also mean higher deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket costs for many of the program’s 39 million seniors and disabled enrollees, who pay a smaller share of its cost, experts and federal officials said. (Ornstein, 3/29)
The Detroit Free Press:
Can Free Discount Cards Really Offer Prescription Savings?
Many consumers are looking for a quick-fix to the high-cost of prescription drugs. But can you really expect all that much from paper discount cards that pop up in the mail? "Save up to 75 percent on your prescriptions instantly," reads the back of the free card from American Prescription Discounts. Really? Well, make sure you understand the small print and recognize that we're not talking about 75 percent off your co-pay. (Tompor, 3/27)
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is taking a light touch in overseeing health care monitoring devices like the Apple Watch -
FDA 'Taking A Very Light Touch' On Regulating The Apple Watch
With Apple Inc. and fellow Silicon Valley companies edging further into health care, the U.S. agency in charge of oversight says it will give the technology industry leeway to develop new products without aggressive regulation. Bakul Patel, who oversees the new wave of consumer-focused health products at the Food and Drug Administration, said most wearable gadgets such as the soon-to-be-released Apple Watch and health-focused applications for smartphones have a way to go before warranting close scrutiny from the agency. (Satariano, 3/30)