HHS lowers 64 prescription drug prices under Medicare rebate program

Medicare enrollees will pay less for 64 prescription drugs from July though the end of September because drug companies raised prices faster than the rate of inflation, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Wednesday.

The latest round of drugs discounted for seniors under provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) treat conditions like osteoporosis, cancer and infections, according to a news release. More than 750,000 Medicare enrollees could save as much as $4,593 per day.

The latest announcement has become a quarterly tradition from the White House, giving the Biden administration a platform to highlight its commitment to lower drug prices.

“Without the Inflation Reduction Act, seniors were completely exposed to Big Pharma’s price hikes. Not anymore,” said Neera Tanden, domestic policy adviser for the White House, in a statement.

Padcev, a medication taken to treat bladder cancer, and Crysvita, which treats a genetic disorder causing impaired growth, are both included in this round of reduced prescription drug costs. Padcev has increased faster than the rate of inflation each quarter the Medicare Part B inflation rebate program has existed, the Biden administration said.

Out-of-pocket prescription drug costs will be capped at $2,000 starting in 2025 due to the incremental implementation of the IRA.

Conservative groups and several of Biden's political adversaries have pushed back against the law, saying the price restrictions will stifle innovation and manufacturing. Just this week, Republican lawmakers received a letter urging Congress repeal the IRA’s drug pricing provisions, Axios reported.

“Any vote in Congress to repeal this historic law is a vote to let big drug makers keep price-gouging seniors, including many who often choose between food and medicine,” Liz Zelnick, director of economic security and corporate power for Accountable.US, a nonpartisan government watchdog that aims "to hold special interests accountable and drive progressive change," said in a statement. 

PhRMA, a lobbying group for the pharmaceutical industry, has contributed almost $1 million (PDF) to conservative organizations that signed on to the letter to lawmakers, Accountable.US wrote in a recent analysis.