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8 things to know about the costliest Medicare prescription drugs

Medicare recently released data concerning the costliest prescription medicines in 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Here are eight things to know:

1. Gilead Sciences' hepatitis C treatment Harvoni cost Medicare $7.03 billion last year, making the drug the priciest on Medicare's list.

2. Medicare spent $153 million on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International's diabetes drug Glumetza, up 381 percent from 2014.

3. In 2015, Medicare spending on Pfizer's Lyrica, a pain reliever, increased 26 percent to $1.8 billion.

4. In 2015, Medicare spending on dermatology drug clobetasol propionate hit $389.7 million, up 50 percent. The drug had a 145 percent price increase which offset a 1 percent drop in prescription units.

5. In 2014, Medicare officials stated the agency's Part D program received $16.3 billion in rebates on brand-name drugs, which constituted 17.5 percent of gross spending.

6. Following Medicare's release of the data, a Valeant spokesperson said the company has been dedicated to not increasing the prices by more than 9.9 percent each year.

7. A Gilead spokesperson said Harvoni's cost is much less than the lifetime costs associated with treating liver diseases. Additionally, the company's spokesperson said Gilead offers customers discounts exceeding 50 percent for those participating in Medicare and VA proems.

8. A Pfizer spokesperson said "it is misleading to suggest Medicare pays these list prices" as Pfizer offers a "substantial discount."

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