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Medicare spending $9B on hepatitis C drugs

1 year 6 months 1 week ago November 13, 2015 Nov 13, 2015 Friday, November 13 2015 November 13, 2015 2:28 PM in Health
Source: Associated Press
By: Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

WASHINGTON - New government figures show Medicare spending on breakthrough medications for hepatitis C will nearly double this year, passing $9 billion. 

That's going to raise insurance costs for all beneficiaries, whether or not they have the liver-wasting disease.

Cost estimates show that Medicare's popular prescription drug program will spend more than $9 billion on hepatitis C drugs this year, a 96 percent increase from $4.7 billion in 2014. 

"Hep C" is a viral illness affecting some 3 million people in the U.S. and claims more lives here than AIDS. More than 3 in 4 adults currently infected are baby boomers, the age group now entering Medicare. 

New drugs cure the disease, but treatment costs from $80,000 to $100,000. Drug prices are the public's top health care concern in opinion polls.

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