Prescription Drugs: Overview of Approaches to Control Prescription Drug Spending in Federal Programs

GAO-09-819T Published: Jun 24, 2009. Publicly Released: Jun 24, 2009.
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Millions of individuals receive prescription drugs through federal programs. The increasing cost of prescription drugs has put pressure to control drug spending on federal programs such as the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP), Medicare Part D, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and Medicaid. Prescription drug spending within the FEHBP in particular, which provides health and drug coverage to about 8 million federal employees, retirees, and their dependents, has been a significant contributor to FEHBP cost and premium growth. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which administers the FEHBP, predicted that prescription drugs would continue to be a primary driver of program costs in 2009. GAO was asked to describe approaches used by the FEHBP to control prescription drug spending and summarize approaches used by other federal programs. This testimony is based on prior GAO work, including Prescription Drugs: Oversight of Drug Pricing in Federal Programs (GAO-07-481T) and Prescription Drugs: An Overview of Approaches to Negotiate Drug Prices Used by Other Countries and U.S. Private Payers and Federal Programs (GAO-07-358T) and selected updates from relevant literature on drug spending controls prepared by other congressional and federal agencies.

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