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US to impose inflation fines on first set of drugs, lowering costs Health News ET HealthWorld

Washington: The US government will subject 27 drugs to inflation penalties, it announced on Wednesday, meaning people on Medicare will pay less out-of-pocket by $2 to as high as $390 per average dose starting April 1.

President Joe Biden‘s signature Inflation Reduction Act includes a provision penalizing drugmakers for charging prices that rise faster than inflation for people with disabilities or age 65 and older on the government’s Medicare health program.

“Starting on April 1, Medicare beneficiaries will pay lower coinsurance for Part B drugs that raise prices faster than inflation,” white house Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice told reporters on a press call.

The list includes AbbVie Inc’s blockbuster arthritis drug Humira, Gilead Sciences Inc.Yescarta’s Car-T cancer therapy and Seagen Inc.Padcev’s targeted cancer therapy, the White House said in a fact sheet.

Companies that raise prices higher than the inflation rate will be required to pay Medicare the difference in the form of a rebate. Those that fail to pay the rebate will face a penalty equal to 125 per cent of the rebate amount.

The government will start invoicing the companies for the rebates in 2025 but Medicare will start reducing out-of-pocket costs for members in April.

Medicare began examining the price increases in October 2022 for Medicare Part B drugs, often used in the hospital, that are complicated biologic drugs or drugs with only one manufacturer.

The government will update the list of drugs every quarter. Price increases for half of all drugs covered by Medicare outpaced inflation from 2019 to 2020, which averaged 1 percent that year. A third of those had price jumps of over 7.5 percent.

The Department of Health and Human Services ,HSS) will also release on Wednesday initial guidance on how its Medicare prescription drug negotiation process will work, Rice said.

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