Medicare Part D scripts reach $103 billion


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday released new data on Medicare Part D prescription drugs prescribed by physicians and other health care professionals in 2013.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday released new data on Medicare Part D prescription drugs prescribed by physicians and other healthcare professionals in 2013.

The new data, required by the Obama administration to make healthcare more transparent, contains information from over 1 million different healthcare providers who collectively prescribed approximately $103 billion in prescription drugs and supplies paid under the Part D program.  

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“Beneficiaries’ personal information is not available; however, it’s important for consumers, their providers, researchers, and other stakeholders to know how many prescription drugs are prescribed and how much they cost the health care system, so that they can better understand how the Medicare Part D program delivers care,” said acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt in a statement.

The new data characterize the individual prescribing patterns of health providers that participate in Medicare Part D for more than 3,000 different drugs. For each prescriber and drug, the dataset includes the total number of prescriptions that were dispensed, which include original prescriptions and any refills, and the total drug cost paid by beneficiaries, Part D plans, and other sources.  

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CMS created the new data set using drug claim information submitted by Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plans and stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans. “With this data, it will be possible to conduct a wide array of prescription drug analyses that compare drug use and costs for specific providers, brand versus generic drug prescribing rates, and to make geographic comparisons at the state level,” the CMS statement said.

The new data Part D “adds to the unprecedented information previously released on services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries, including hospital charge data on common impatient and outpatient services as well as utilization and payment information for physicians and other healthcare professionals”, CMS said.

CMS has set measurable goals and a timeline to move Medicare toward paying providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity, of care they give patients, according to the statement.

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