Information on Highest-Expenditure Part B Drugs

GAO – Jun 28, 2013

What GAO Found

Medicare expenditures for Part B drugs in 2010 were concentrated among relatively few drugs. The 55 highest-expenditure Part B drugs represented $16.9 billion in spending, or about 85 percent of all Medicare spending on Part B drugs, and the 10 highest-expenditure drugs accounted for about 45 percent of all Part B drug spending in 2010. Most of these drugs were under patent and could be purchased only from a single manufacturer. The number of Medicare beneficiaries who used the 55 drugs ranged from over 15 million beneficiaries who received the influenza vaccine to 660 beneficiaries who used a drug that treats hemophilia. The annual per beneficiary cost of the Part B drugs GAO examined also varied widely in 2010, from $13 for influenza vaccine to over $200,000 for factor vii recombinant to treat hemophilia. Spending, utilization, and prices increased for most of the 55 drugs between 2008 and 2010, with the drugs that showed the greatest increases in expenditures also showing the greatest increases in utilization. Read More