Professors warn of price gouging in Medicare Part D program

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Price transparency in the Medicare Part D would help curb fraud and abuse in the prescription drug program and lower drug prices for the federal government and beneficiaries alike, according to recent testimony before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The government could be paying 20% more for drugs for dual eligibles than before the implementation of the drug program, said Gerard F. Anderson, professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. But because access to pricing data is extremely limited, government and private researchers do not have a firm grasp on exactly how much more the government is spending under Part D versus how much it would have spent if beneficiaries were still getting drug coverage under Medicaid.

University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy Professor Steven Schondelmeyer also testified about the importance of price transparency in the program. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General Chief Council Lewis Morris agreed that transparency would improve the integrity of the program.