HHS Office of Inspector General to target rising drug prices — 5 notes

HHS Office of Inspector General, the agency's watchdog arm, said it will begin investigating concerns over prescription medicine and its high prices, according to STAT.

Here are five notes:

1. The office will look into questions concerning drug prices and the sources for certain medications as well as medicine that may be wasted when providers distribute cancer treatments into a single vial.

2. A 2016 analysis found manufacturers often package cancer treatments into uniform-sized vials. These vials often generate leftover quantities that providers have to discard out of safety concerns.

3. The OIG will also look into savings the government could accrue in the Medicare Part B program if CMS tied rebates to inflation as well as "questionable" billing for topical medicines that Medicare Part D compounds and covers.

4. An OIG report found Medicare Part D spending on topical drugs has increased 3,466 percent in the lat 10 years. Ten years ago, theses drugs comprised 9 percent of overall compounded drug spending, with this figure reaching almost 50 percent in 2015.

5. An OIG spokesperson told STAT that "prescription drug oversight is a top priority."

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