Bottom Line: Brand-name combination drugs can be more expensive than the sum of their parts, especially when generic components are available. An analysis of Medicare Part D spending suggests $925 million is the difference between what Medicare reported spending in 2016 for 29 brand-name combination drugs and what the estimated spending would have been if generic components had been used for the same number of doses. Prescriber education and more rational substitution policies may help promote generic substitution and therapeutic interchange to save money in the Medicare drug benefit program.
Authors: Chana A. Sacks, M.D., M.P.H., Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and coauthors
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