MedPac: Top 10 Most Expensive Medicare Part B Drugs are Originator Biologics

2020 MedPAC Report Reinforces Urgent Need for Policies that Increase Competition from and Patient Access to Biosimilars

Washington, DC — A new report out from the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) found that originator biologics make up all of the top ten most expensive drugs in Medicare Part B — with the average sale price of individual Part B-covered originator biologics having risen by an average of 54 percent between 2006 and 2018. As the nation looks to Congress and the Administration to keep their promise and lower health care costs, biosimilars can help them achieve that promise. 

Biosimilars are lower-cost alternatives to innovator biologics, life-changing treatment options for patients with diseases like cancer, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Yet, multiple factors have led to sluggish growth in the US market, holding back the billions in savings these next generation of lower-cost medicines can provide.  

“As our nation’s seniors and patients are looking for financial relief, biosimilars offer the opportunity to reduce Medicare spending by increasing competition  — helping to drive down costs and increase patients’ treatment options,” said Juliana Reed, President of the Biosimilars Forum. “Congress and the Administration can take near-immediate action to increase access to and encourage use of biosimilars because they’re already recognized as a commonsense and bipartisan solution to lowering drug costs.”

Earlier this month, Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced bipartisan legislation to implement a “shared savings” model for biosimilars through CMMI, which would encourage the use of biosimilars to lower Medicare Part B spending — a policy that has been projected to save $3 billion in taxpayer dollars over the next ten years. This is a companion bill to bipartisan legislation introduced in the House in March by Congressmen Cardenas, Hudson, Fitzpatrick, and Craig. 

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