In a new study, researchers found that an effective drug to treat chronic heart failure may cost too much for senior citizens with a standard Medicare Part D drug plan.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and other institutes.
According to the team, the therapy is a combination of sacubitril/valsartan called Entresto.
The drug is the standard of care for the people with congestive heart failure according to both the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology guidelines.
Previous research has shown that therapy can reduce deaths from heart failure by 20%.
But in the study, they found that even with insurance, the cost to Medicare patients may be more than $1,600 a year.
The researchers say it’s priced so high that, even with insurance, patients may not be able to afford it.
Since Entresto is a pricey, brand-name drug, such high copayments may result in patients not taking it at all. And that comes at a steep price.
It is important to find a way to deal with its $5,000 price tag, and how folks on Medicare can afford to pay $1,600 each year in copayments to benefit from it.
Current laws prohibit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from negotiating drug prices with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of Medicare Part D beneficiaries.
As a result, paying $1,600 per year for a single drug could be a huge hardship for many older adults who lived on an average income of less than $25,000 in 2017.
Changing the laws that prevent Medicare from negotiating drug prices on behalf of seniors and people living with disabilities may help curb these skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs.
The lead author of the study is Colette DeJong of the University of California at San Francisco.
The study is published in JAMA Cardiology.
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