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Prescription Drugs

  • Prices for Common Medicare Drugs Rose 12 Percent Annually, With a Caveat  Stat by Ed Silverman — The latest report to chronicle the rising cost of prescription medicines comes from a U.S. Senate committee that found prices for the 20 drugs most widely prescribed through Medicare Part D in 2015, on average, increased 12 percent each year between 2012 and 2017. Moreover, a dozen of the medicines saw price hikes of 50 percent of more during that time and six of the drugs experienced price increases of more than 100 percent. In one case, the weighted average wholesale cost for one medicine — Nitrostat, which is used to prevent chest pain — rose by 477 percent.

  • Aetna Will Pass Along Discounts as Drug Price Scrutiny Increases  Bloomberg News by Zachary Tracer — Aetna Inc. will pass on the discounts it negotiates on prescription drugs to about 3 million of its members, the latest move by a health insurer to address Americans' complaints about the cost of medicine. The discounts, which can amount to more than half a drug's list price, will be passed on at the pharmacy counter for many people starting next year, Aetna Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini said in a telephone interview. The move by the No. 3 U.S. health insurer follows a similar decision earlier this month by its larger peer, UnitedHealth Group Inc.

  • Azar Taps Former CVS Executive to Help Lower Drug Prices  The Hill by Nathaniel Weixel — Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar is tapping a former CVS Caremark executive to lead the agency's efforts to lower drug prices. According to HHS, Daniel Best will be Azar's senior adviser for drug pricing reform. Best was most recently a vice president of industry relations for CVS's Medicare Part D business. This included the company's prescription drug plans, Medicare Part D plans and other clients. In a statement, Azar said Best will lead the agency's initiatives aimed at lowering drug prices — a top priority for the Trump administration.

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