Trending News Today: Part D Enrollees May Pay More for Some Specialty Generics Than Brand-Name Drugs

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A recent study found that Medicare Part D beneficiaries may pay more for some specialty generic drugs than their brand-name counterparts, The Center for Biosimilars reported. According to the article, the findings are based on data from the Medicare Formulary Files for the first quarter of 2018. The Bipartisan Budget Act, which modified the Part D benefit to ensure beneficiaries do not pay more for biosimilar products, has decreased out-of-pocket spending for biosimilars, but spending for some specialty generics is still increasing in relation to brand-name drugs, the article reported.

Provisional data released by the CDC indicated that drug overdose deaths decreased 5.1% from 2017 to 2018, the first significant decline in fatal overdoses since the 1990s, The Washington Post reported. According to the article, there were 14,495 fatal overdoses involving prescription painkillers in 2017 compared with 12,757 in 2018. Officials noted that this is the biggest decline among the drug categories tracked by the CDC, the article reported.

A new study suggests that patients with lung cancer whose radiation treatments are interrupted by hurricanes or other natural disasters may have worse survival outcomes, Reuters reported. According to the article, the study included 1734 patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose radiation therapy was disrupted by a hurricane sometime between 2004 and 2014 compared with 1734 similar patients who had uninterrupted treatment. Overall, treatment interruption resulted in survival of an average of 29 months after diagnosis compared with 31 months for those without disruptions, the article reported.

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