The federal government popped the cap off drug spending on April 30, detailing doctor-by-doctor and drug-by-drug how Medicare and its beneficiaries spent $103 billion on pharmaceuticals in 2013.
Escalating drug prices have been making the news in recent months. In particular, the exorbitant price tags of two brand-name drugs used to treat Hepatitis C — Solvaldi and Harvoni — have ignited intense controversy. I talked with Leigh Purvis, director of health services research, AARP Public Policy Institute, and coauthor of AARP’s Rx Price Watch Report: Trends in Retail Prices of Brand Name Prescription Drugs Widely Used by Older Americans, 2006-2013 about the trend in rising drug prices and what it means for consumers.
Prescription drug programs that automatically ship out refills at regular intervals can help older Americans follow doctor's orders, according to business organizations that are lobbying against a Medicare crackdown on the practice.
Once upon a time, we trusted that our doctors knew our all of our medications, and how they interacted. But now, trooping off to the cardiologist one day, and the gastroenterologist the next, with a side of psychiatrist? And what happens if, say, you forget to mention all the drugs you're taking to each doc, and even if you do, do they know how all the drugs you're taking interact?
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