Published Online: Saturday, April 1, 2006

Generic medicines will play a key role in the government's efforts to hold down Medicare prescription drug benefit costs, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Mark McClellan, MD, PhD.

Dr. McClellan released new CMS data to Congress suggesting that the cost of Medicare Part D is already significantly lower than originally projected. According to those figures, the net cost to the government for drug coverage in 2006 is expected to be $30.5 billion, down from previous estimates of $38.1 billion. Additionally, premiums for the average individual will be about a third less than previously estimated, at $25 per month. Over 10 years, the program is now expected to weigh in at $70 billion less than originally projected.

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