Published Online: Monday, October 1, 2007

Officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are crediting the strong emphasis on cost-effective generic drugs with driving down the anticipated cost of Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage premiums for the coming year.

According to CMS, the actual average premium paid by beneficiaries for standard Part D coverage in 2008 will be roughly $25-an amount that is nearly 40 percent lower than originally projected when the benefit was established in 2003, and also lower than was projected earlier this year.

"Smart choices" have played a key role, according to CMS Acting Deputy Administrator Herb B. Kuhn. "Medicare drug benefit bids continue to be well below projections because of?increased generic usage," he said. Kuhn also credited "effective plan negotiation" for lower prices from pharmaceutical manufacturers, as well as "strong competition" among the drug plans themselves.

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