Part D 'windfall' for pharma, report says

Hear that whistling sound past your ears? It's a Medicare Part D windfall--or so says a House committee report released yesterday. The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform looked at Part D and found that taxpayers are paying up to 30 percent more for prescription drugs under that program than under Medicaid. "Medicare Part D has given the major drug companies a taxpayer-funded windfall worth billions of dollars," Chairman Henry Waxman said.

According to the committee, drugmakers reaped $3.7 billion more off Part D meds over the past two years than they would have selling the same drugs under Medicaid. As an example, Waxman cited Bristol-Myers Squibb's Plavix sales to Part D; they garnered an additional $400 million for the company, he said.

The ranking Republican on that committee begged to differ, however. Rep. Thomas M. Davis said the cost of Part D had come in nearly 40 percent lower than original estimates.

- read the Los Angeles Times story