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Many Medicare Part D patients will find fewer drugs to choose from in their drug plans' formularies in 2008
Eight out of 10 of the top Medicare Part D prescription drug plans will drop the number of drugs they have on their formulary for 2008. The decrease is estimated at 26%, from an average of 3,094 drugs in 2007 to 2,285 in 2008. What's accounting for the drop? According to market research firm Avalere Health, drugs not approved by the FDA are excluded. In 2007, CMS had allowed plans to build their formularies from a list of 7,100 products, but for 2008, after CMS deleted the non-FDA-approved drugs and others, the list was whittled down to about 5,500 products. Other reasons driving the change are PDPs' desire to increase rebates and reduce patients' out-of-pocket costs. Avalere added that for 2008, patients will find a greater spread in their payments for generic and branded drugs and a four-tier drug design for many PDPs.