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May 2015

Medicare data show contrast in generic, brand prescribing.

By Making the Most of your Medicare No Comments

NEXIUM  v.  OMEPRAZOLE Cost, the only substantive difference?  The most-used medicines in Medicare’s prescription drug program are generics, but the program spends the most on brand-name drugs, led by the heartburn treatment Nexium, according to an unprecedented release of government data on Thursday. That contrast sheds light on prescribing practices and how they might be used to save money, specialists say. More than a million health care providers prescribed $103 billion worth of medications under the popular Part D drug benefit for seniors in 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. Of more than 3,000 drugs prescribed that year, AstraZeneca’s Nexium alone accounted for $2.5 billion of the spending, prescribed to nearly 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries. GlaxoSmithKline’s asthma drug Advair Diskus accounted for $2.3 billion of the Part D program, followed by AstraZeneca’s cholesterol blockbuster Crestor at $2.2 billion. Contrast that with the 10 most-prescribed drugs for Part D beneficiaries that year, generics…

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