The updated tools draw attention to year-over-year changes in drug prices.
A redesigned set of online dashboards released Tuesday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services includes data on year-over-year drug pricing changes and shines a spotlight on the manufacturers that have raised their prices.
Although the agency has had drug pricing dashboards for a while, the updated versions are designed to make it clearer how prices have changed over time, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said during an interview with The Washington Post broadcast live online.
"So you'll be able to see whether there's been a double-digit increase or a triple-digit increase or, in some cases, a quadruple-digit increase," Verma said Tuesday. "All of that information is available as of today."
"We want to make sure patients have that information," she added. "Our goal is to focus on patients, but I think it could be used by a variety of different individuals."
- Medicare's rising drug costs: In 2012, Medicare spent $109 billion, or 17% of its total budget, on prescription drugs; in 2016, that figure rose to $174 billion, or 23% of the program's total budget, according to the CMS announcement.
- The dashboards: The interactive tools include a dashboard for Medicare Part D drug spending, Medicare Part B drug spending, and Medicaid drug spending. There's also a report summarizing Part D manufacturer rebates.
- Data through 2016: The most recent data made available in these dashboards comes from 2016. More information on each data set is available in an online fact sheet.
These updated tools aim to bring "transparency and accountability to what has been a largely hidden process," Verma said in a statement announcing the change.
The rollout follows a speech last Friday by President Donald Trump, when the administration released a blueprint outlining a general plan to lower prescription drug costs—a plan which Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar continued to explain this week.
Steven Porter is editor at HealthLeaders.