New Prescription Drug Cost Data Released

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released on Thursday privacy-protected data on the prescription drugs that were paid for under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program in 2014. This is the second release of the data on an annual basis, which shows which prescription drugs were prescribed to Medicare Part D enrollees by physicians and other healthcare professionals.

“With this data release, patients, researchers and providers can access valuable information about the Medicare prescription drug program,” said Niall Brennan, CMS Chief Data Officer. “Today’s release joins a series of actions the Administration is taking to improve transparency around government data, including the cost of prescription drugs.”

The 2014 data set contains information from over one million distinct health care providers who collectively prescribed approximately $121 billion in prescription drugs paid for under the Medicare Part D program. This represents a 17 percent increase compared to the 2013 data set. The March 2016 Department of Health and Human Services report provided a detailed analysis of prescription drug spending trends, and noted that overall prescription drug spending in the United States rose by 12.6 percent between 2013 and 2014.

The 2014 data set describes the specific medications prescribed for 38 million Medicare Part D enrollees, who represent about 70 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries. The data set was created using information submitted by Medicare Advantage Prescription drug plans and stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans. With two years of data, it will now be possible to conduct analyses of trends from 2013 to 2014 as well as to conduct a wide array of analyses that compare prescribing habits for specific providers, brand versus generic drug prescribing rates, and state- and local-level differences in drug utilization and costs. The 2014 data set includes new aggregated information on opioids, antibiotics, antipsychotics, and high-risk medications among the elderly. In addition, a prescriber enrollment status field has been added to indicate whether the prescriber is enrolled, not enrolled or opted out of the Medicare program.

The availability of the 2014 Medicare Part D prescription drug data adds to the unprecedented information previously released on services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries. This public data release is part of the Administration’s broader strategy to improve the health care system by paying practitioners for what works, unlocking health care data, and finding new ways to coordinate and integrate care to improve quality.

To view a fact sheet on the 2014 Medicare Part D prescriber data, visit: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2016-Fact-sheets-items/2016-08-18.html.

To access the 2014 Medicare Part D prescriber data, visit: https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/PartD2014.html.

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