Prices for 2 of Medicare's most expensive drugs more than double

Two blood thinners among Medicare's costliest drugs have more than doubled their list prices since entering the market, according to a report released April 5 by Patients for Affordable Drugs.

For the nearly 8 million Americans who regularly take blood thinners, the inexpensive drug warfarin was the standard of care until 2010. However, the drug puts patients at risk of heavy bleeding.

In 2011, Johnson & Johnson's Xarelto entered the market. In 2013, Eliquis, developed by Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer, entered as well. Upon market entrance, Xarelto's list price was $218 for a month's supply, and Eliquis' list price was $250.

As of January 2022, the list prices for a month's supply of Xarelto and Eliquis are $516 and $529, respectively. Medicare Part D has spent more than $46 billion on the two drugs since 2015.

In 2020, Eliquis was the fourth best-selling drug in the world and Xarelto was the 10th best-selling. In the same year, Eliquis was the most costly drug for Medicare, with 2.6 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries taking it. Xarelto was the third most costly, with 1.1 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries taking it. 

Although list prices do not reflect rebates negotiated by drugmakers and payers, they are often used to set Medicare Part D cost-sharing.

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