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October 4, 2022

Around the nation: Prices of 1,200 drugs increased faster than inflation

Daily Briefing

    Between July 2021 and July 2022, the prices of over 1,200 drugs increased faster than the 8.5% rate of inflation, according to a new report from HHS, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California and the District of Columbia.

    • California: Instacart has launched a health and wellness initiative called Instacart Health, which company executives say will further the work it has done with food assistance, nutrition education, and prescribed meal programs. "This is a natural extension of Instacart," said Sarah Mastorocco, Instacart Health's general manager. "We need to make sure that people think of us beyond just their consumer need." For the launch, Instacart Health is partnering with digital health company Good Measures and health insurance company WellCare of Kentucky to supply food prescription programs to Medicaid members. In addition, dietitians from Good Measures will help members create a nutrition plan that can be accessed through Instacart. According to Mastorocco, Instacart Health plans to work with additional insurance companies, health systems, and other stakeholders to make products and services available on the Instacart app. "There are a lot of potential areas and it depends on the use case," Mastorocco said. "For example, with hospital systems, it could be in restorative care for post-surgery, giving patients a list that helps them control their diet for the 30 days after surgery." (Perna, Modern Healthcare, 9/28)
    • District of Columbia: A new report from HHS found that the prices of over 1,200 drugs increased faster than the 8.5% rate of inflation between July 2021 and July 2022—a finding that underscores the possible impact of the Inflation Reduction Act's drug pricing provisions, which require drug companies to pay rebates to Medicare if prices surpass the rate of inflation. Notably, the HHS report only analyzed the list prices of drugs, which do not include rebates paid to pharmacy benefit managers. The 1,200 drugs with price increases that surpassed the rate of inflation made up roughly one percent of all products included the study. "If the Inflation Reduction Act had been in place from July 2021 to July 2022, more than 1,200 prescription drugs potentially would have been subject to the new provision requiring drug manufacturers to pay rebates to Medicare if they enact price increases greater than inflation for drugs," HHS said. (Sullivan, Axios, 9/30)
    • District of Columbia: The Biden administration announced that Medicare Advantage (MA) premiums will decrease by almost 8% in 2023, dropping from $19.52 to $18 per month. The decision to decrease the projected average premium has garnered support from several industry groups, including AHIP and Better Medicare Alliance. "The Inflation Reduction Act will provide much needed financial relief and increase access to affordable drugs," said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. "It is more important than ever for people to review their health care coverage and explore their Medicare options during Open Enrollment this year." (Asser, HealthLeaders, 9/30)

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