While total Medicare spending on all Part B drugs continued to rise from 2018 to 2019, a Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) report found that average sales prices (ASPs) for some traditionally costly drugs actually decreased, a trend that may be due to biosimilar competition, posits the recent report.

The report, titled Health Care Spending and the Medicare Program, was published in July 2021. In 2018, total Part B drug spending was just shy of $35 billion, an amount that rose to more than $39 billion the following year. Among the top 10 drugs, 2018 total spend was almost $15 billion, increasing to more than $16 billion in 2019 — or about 41% of all Part B spending for the year.

Top Part B Drugs Are All Biologics

All of the top Part B drugs have been biologics since 2016. In 2019, the top 10 drugs included ones for cancer or supportive oncology care, ocular conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s ocular drug Eylea (aflibercept) ranked No. 1, with total Part B spending of more than $2.9 billion.

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