New 2013 data on Medicare drug spending from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services tells important story about drug costs and drug use among people with Medicare. You can learn about physician prescribing habits by specialty and geography. There’s also data on the top prescribed drugs based on claims submitted and the top prescribed drugs based on cost.
The data clearly show that the use of generic drugs is up. A 2014 Congressional Budget Office report on falling Medicare drug costs recognizes this increase in generic drug use; it stems in part from a loss in patent protection for several commonly prescribed high-cost drugs. In the top five medical specialties with the highest total prescription drug costs, more than three quarters of drugs prescribed are generic. And of the top ten prescribed drugs based on claims submitted, all ten are generic.
More than three of four drugs dispensed to people with Medicare were generic. People living in Texas, Hawaii and Alaska used slightly fewer generics than people in most of the rest of the country.
The top prescribed drug based on cost is Nexium. Almost 1.5 million people with Medicare Part D were prescribed Nexium costing more than $2.5 billion. But, Advair is not far behind.