A House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report has found Medicare Part D pays 30% more than Medicaid does to purchase the top 100 drugs used by seniors.
The higher payments resulted in a $3.7 billion windfall over two years for the 29 pharmaceutical companies providing those drugs, according to the findings. The report compared prescription expenditures for 6 million dual-eligible seniors who, under Medicare Part D law, were required to transfer their drug coverage from Medicaid to Medicare in 2006. Medicare Part D private payers shelled out roughly $16.2 billion during 2006 and 2007 to purchase the same drugs that Medicaid paid around $12.4 billion to buy.
Drugmaker Johnson & Johnsons anti-psychotic drug Risperdal claimed $500 million of the $3.7 billion during that period. Other big earners included Bristol-Myers Squibb, which received $200 million for its heart attack and stroke drug Plavix. -- by Shawn Rhea