These 10 drugs account for 22% of Medicare Part D spending: KFF

Approximately 22% of gross Medicare Part D spending can be attributed to 10 top-selling prescription drugs, according to analysis from KFF.

The 10 drugs made up less than 1% of all covered drugs in 2021, and all were brand-name drugs, the study found. In 2021, Part D covered 3,500 prescription drugs, with total gross spending of $216 billion.

Five of the drugs treat diabetes and have gained notoriety in recent months for helping people lose weight. Other drugs in the top 10 included Eliquis, a blood thinner that was the No. 1 selling drug in 2021, followed by Revlimid, a treatment for multiple myeloma, and Xarelto, another blood thinner.

Total Gross Spending on The Top 10 Medicare Part D Drugs in 2021 Ranged from $2.6 Billion for Ozempic, a Diabetes Drug, to $12.6 Billion for Eliquis, a Blood Thinner

KFF’s analysis, using 2021 data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), shows the importance behind the federal government negotiating drug prices under the Inflation Reduction Act, the researchers said. As the data show, even just 10 drugs can command a large percentage of overall Medicare spending.

“The number of drugs subject to price negotiation will grow in subsequent years and may include drugs covered under Part B beginning in 2028,” reports KFF. “Drugs will be selected for negotiation from among those with the highest gross prescription drug costs under Medicare.”

CMS will utilize spending data, FDA approval data and generic availability to decide which drugs will be selected for price negotiation by Sept. 1. Part B drugs will not be subject to price negotiation until 2028.