New site compares Medicaid drug prices across states and overall drug price trends

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There is a lot of drug pricing data available publicly but it is hard to synthesize. 46brooklyn has solved this problem by merging that data and putting it into understandable graphs and maps. The Medicaid drug pricing heat map is fascinating. Using CMS data to compare what state Medicaid programs are spending on prescriptions with the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost across states. Visitors can compare a lot of drugs and the goes up to the first quarter of this year and back to 2014. On the map, green states price the drug below the national average price, yellow is about average, and red/orange are states that are paying more. It was a massive amount of work by two people with deep pharmaceutical experience. One of them pointed out that it is a relative scale – just because a state is near the average may just mean that all states are getting a raw deal.  CT’s Medicaid program pays about average prices for the drugs that cost us the most – treatments for Hepatitis C, AIDS/HIV, opioid overdose, and for arthritis and other diseases as well as insulin and asthma rescue inhalers. The researchers are also parsing the data for patterns, including a recent post Medicaid spending on generic Gleevec. Gleevec is a very expensive oral chemotherapy medication. There were great hopes that prices would come down when a generic became available in 2016 but that didn’t happen. CT complete Gleevec and generic Gleevec utilization data are not available on CMS’s site.

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