WASHINGTON — Older Americans on Medicare could be paying less money for some prescription drugs within the next few years.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will announce the first batch of ten drugs that will be included in the government’s negotiations with manufacturers for drug prices.
It’s part of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which passed last year, and allows Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices.
The IRA included a $35 a month cap on out-of-pocket costs for insulin for Medicare recipients.
Our Washington News Bureau spoke one-one-one with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra about the impact of the IRA and the next steps ahead to tackle drug costs.
Becerra said the insulin cap has saved some beneficiaries hundreds of dollars a month already.
“When we talk to a lot of these Americans who are on fixed incomes, that’s big and so giving people that piece of mind that comes from knowing they can keep extra dollars in their pocket, you can’t buy that,” said Becerra. “Stay tuned because September 1st will be an important day.”
We asked Becerra about the kinds of drugs that will be included in the first round of Medicare price negotiations, but Becerra didn’t give specific names of drugs just yet.
“It’s ten that we believe that we could actually have an impact on when it comes to the price,” said Becerra.
We asked Becerra how the federal government determines which drugs will be included in the price negotiations through Medicare.
“We’re looking for drugs that will have an impact in the lives of Americans,” said Becerra. “Looking for drugs that seem to be priced higher than they should be. Looking for drugs that don’t seem to have the same level of competition.”
Becerra said after the ten drugs are announced in September, another 15 drugs will be named later on as well for price negotiations.
“Slowly, like rolling thunder, we’re going to continue to attack these high prescription drug prices because no American should have to make a decision between buying their meds or paying their rent,” said Becerra.
HHS said the price negotiations will take place this year and next year and the price changes are expected to be in effect starting in 2026.
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