The Biden administration announced Tuesday the first 10 prescription drugs that would be selected for negotiation under the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program designed to lower the costs of prescription medicines.
The drugs that are included for negotiation are commonly used in nursing homes and other long-term care settings and are covered under Medicare Part D.
Among the 10 drugs listed include popular blood thinners such as Eliquis and Xarelto, diabetes and heart medications including Jardiance, Farxiga, Januvia, and Entresto, arthritis drugs such as Enbrel and Stelara, and the blood cancer drug Imbruvica.
“Our goal with these negotiations is to improve access to some of the costliest drugs for millions of people with Medicare while driving competition and innovation,” Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement.
The negotiations with participating drug companies for the selected drugs will occur in 2023 and 2024, with the negotiated prices expected to take effect in 2026. The CMS is also planning to host a series of listening sessions with patients, beneficiaries, caregivers, consumer and patient organizations and other interested parties about the selected drugs this fall.
These selected drugs accounted for $50.5 billion, or about 20%, of total Part D gross covered prescription drug costs between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2023, according to an HHS news release. Medicare enrollees taking the drugs selected for negotiation paid a total of $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs in 2022 for these drugs, the release said.
Several major drug makers have filed lawsuits over the drug price negotiations, including Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb, claiming it would reduce spending in research and development, leading to fewer breakthroughs for lifesaving treatments, according to NBC News.