Medicare ‘Overspent’ by 20% Compared With Costco Prices on Generic Drugs

Medicare spent $2.6 billion more on 184 most common generic drugs compared with Costco member prices for the same prescriptions in 2018, according to a recent research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine. By analyzing more than 1.4 billion Part D claims, researchers estimated that Medicare spent 13.2% more in 2017 and 20.6% more in 2018 than Costco members paid for 30-day and 90-day prescription fills. In 2018, Medicare spending exceeded the Costco member price on 43.2% of all 30-day and 90-day fills of the generic drugs studied.

SOURCE: “Comparison of Spending on Common Generic Drugs by Medicare vs Costco Members,” JAMA Internal Medicine. July 6, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.3366.

Jinghong Chen

Jinghong Chen Reporter

Jinghong produces infographics and data stories on health insurance and specialty pharmacy for AIS Health. She graduated from Missouri School of Journalism with a focus on data journalism and international reporting. Before joining AIS in 2018, she worked at WBEZ, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times Chinese.

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