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CMS Unveils Enhanced “Drug Dashboards” to Increase Transparency on Drug Prices


Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services   (CMS)

May 15, 2018

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a redesigned version of the Drug Spending Dashboards. For the first time, the dashboards include year-over-year information on drug pricing and highlight which manufactures have been increasing their prices.

“Under President Trump’s bold leadership, CMS is committed to putting patients first and increasing transparency,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Publishing how much individual drugs cost from one year to the next will provide much-needed clarity and will empower patients and doctors with the information they need. As Secretary Azar has repeatedly pointed out, for years Medicare incentives have actually encouraged higher list prices for drugs, and this updated and enhanced dashboard is an important step to bringing transparency and accountability to what has been a largely hidden process.”

The dashboards are interactive online tools that allow patients, clinicians, researchers, and the public to understand trends in drug spending. Data is reported for both Medicare and Medicaid. The new version of the dashboard reports the percentage change in spending on drugs per dosage unit and includes an expanded list of drugs.

Some of the most commonly used drugs across Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D, and Medicaid saw double-digit annual increases over the last few years. A few examples are highlighted in the tables below. Taking the 15 drugs with the highest total spending in each program, the drugs listed in the tables saw significant annual increases in spending per dosage unit from 2012 to 2016. Drugs were included if they experienced annual increases of at least 5 percent in Part B and at least 10 percent in Part D and Medicaid.

In 2012, Medicare spent 17 percent of its total budget, or $109 billion, on prescription drugs. Four years later in 2016, spending had increased to 23 percent, or $174 billion. In 2016, the drugs listed below accounted for $39 billion in total spending by Medicare and Medicaid.

Also, as part of CMS’s commitment to transparency and data release, CMS today is updating the Part D Prescriber Public Use File (PUF) with data for 2016. This file includes summarized information on the more than one million distinct health care providers who prescribed drugs under the Part D program in 2016. This information enables a range of analyses to be performed on prescribing trends in Part D. The Part D Prescriber PUF is available at: https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/Part-D-Prescriber.html.

In all of CMS’s efforts, CMS protects the privacy and security of healthcare data. None of today’s releases include any patient-identifiable data. The dashboards and a downloadable, machine-readable version of the data presented in the dashboards can be accessed at: https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Information-on-Prescription-Drugs/index.html.

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