Prescription drugs with some of the highest Medicare spending also had the highest level of direct-to-consumer advertising, a recently-released GAO report found.
By the numbers: The GAO found the Medicare program and its beneficiaries spent nearly $324 billion on prescription drugs advertised to beneficiaries and other consumers between 2016 and 2018.
This amount is more than half (58%) of total Medicare Parts B and D spending on drugs during that time, the most recent data available.
- Seven of the top 25 drugs in Part D and two of the top 25 drugs in Part B with the highest spending were also among the top 25 drugs with the highest consumer advertising spending that year.
- For example, Trulicity, as well as Lyrica, Eliquis and Humira were among the top 25 drugs in Part D and direct-to-consumer advertising spending.
- Keytruda and Botox were among the top 24 drugs in Part B and direct-to-consumer advertising spending.