Drugmakers pushing to roll back older adults' prescription discounts

The pharmaceutical industry has been lobbying furiously to roll back recently mandated drug discounts for older adults, and it is reportedly focusing on a possible lame-duck session of Congress to peel back a legislative loss they suffered earlier this year. Medicare covers most drug costs until a patient and their plan spend $3,750.

The pharmaceutical industry has been lobbying furiously to roll back recently mandated drug discounts for older adults, and it is reportedly focusing on a possible lame-duck session of Congress to peel back a legislative loss they suffered earlier this year. Medicare covers most drug costs until a patient and their plan spend $3,750. Then, coverage drops off and does not pick up again until a patient's total out-of-pocket costs, including what drug companies pay in discounts, hit $5,000. Nearly 30% of older adults fell into the hole in 2014, according to data from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and more are being affected as costs rise for drugs to treat conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Drugmakers had been required to give a 50% discount on their products once older adults hit the spending threshold. A legislative change in February backed by both parties increased the industry discount to 70%. That extra discount is what drugmakers want to roll back, arguing that it goes too far and that the drug industry is taking too much of the expense.