Published Online: Saturday, September 1, 2007
Although the nation?s pharmacists continue their struggle to adjust to the new financial realities created by the Medicare Part D prescription benefit, for others the program is proving to be a bonanza. Indeed, a new report from IMS Health concludes that Part D is creating ?golden years? for American seniors as well as for the pharmaceutical industry.

Whereas senior citizens had been the 1 segment of the population least likely to have prescription-drug coverage prior to the inception of Part D, today more than half of the Medicare population is getting drug coverage under the program. Yet, as 43 million elderly and disabled Americans are now receiving prescription coverage under Medicare, prescription-drug manufacturers are seeing a sharp increase in sales of expensive brand name ulcer medications and statins, IMS reports.

Part D has been credited with boosting sales of cholesterol- lowering statins by 7% and increasing demand for ulcer- and heartburn-treating proton pump inhibitors by 5%, despite the program?s being <2 years old, said the researchers. IMS Health contends that the first few years of Medicare Part D will be ?golden years for enrollees and branded pharmaceutical companies alike.?

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