Washington Post Quotes HCFO Researcher on Hepatitis C Drug Costs to Medicare

Publication Date: 
March 30, 2015

Sovaldi, a new hepatitis C drug, has garnered national and international attention not only for its curative nature for also for its hefty price tag. Drugs like Sovaldi increased Medicare spending on medications that cure liver disease by more than 15 times what Medicare spent the year before on older treatments for the disease, the Washington Post reported. While taxpayers will shoulder much of this increased cost in treatment, former HCFO grantee Jack Hoadley, Ph.D., Georgetown University, noted, “Some costs probably will be passed along to Medicare beneficiaries who do not have hepatitis C, in the form of higher deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket costs.” In his HCFO-funded study, Hoadley and colleagues examined the forces that influence generic utilization and the potential opportunities to create health care cost savings within the Part D program. He found that benefit design—particularly eliminating copays for generic drugs—may be an effective mechanism to encourage higher generic use and a reduction in Medicare costs.