A Review of US Drug Costs Relevant to Medicare, Medicaid, and Commercial Insurers Post-Affordable Care Act Enactment, 2010–2016

Jacquelyn McRae, F. Randy Vogenberg, Silky Webb Beaty, Elizabeth Mearns, Stefan Varga, Laura Pizzi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, US stakeholders are increasingly being held accountable for the value of healthcare services and drugs administered to patients. Pharmacoeconomic analyses offer one method of demonstrating a product’s value, yet there is a lack of resources specific to US drug costs relevant to each stakeholder. The aim of this study was to review current US drug costs (post-ACA). A literature review aimed at finding evidence on outpatient prescription drug costs was performed using the following sources: PubMed, governmental agencies, news websites, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) website, and Google Scholar. Articles were limited to those published in the years “2010–2016” and the “English” language, and those that described drug acquisition costs, reimbursement costs, and rebates or discounting for Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial payors. The Drug Cost Focus Group (DCFG) was convened to supplement the literature review; the DCFG provided their expertise on US drug costs and emerging issues affecting drug costs. ACA legislation increased drug rebates for manufacturers participating in the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. Acquisition costs commonly referred to in the literature include the wholesale acquisition cost and average manufacture price. Drugs reimbursed by Medicaid are currently based on the actual acquisition cost and ACA-Federal Upper Limit. Evidence suggests that reimbursement methods in the public market are varied. Current gaps in the literature regarding commercial insurers’ drug costs (post-ACA) present barriers to the application of relevant drug costs to pharmacoeconomic analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A Review of US Drug Costs Relevant to Medicare, Medicaid, and Commercial Insurers Post-Affordable Care Act Enactment, 2010–2016'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this