Economic Grand Rounds: Did Medicare Part D Improve Access to Medications?

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This study examined medication use among Medicare beneficiaries and dually eligible beneficiaries before and after the implementation of Medicare Part D on January 1, 2006. Nationally representative 2004–2006 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey were used. Two large classes of psychotropic medications (antidepressant and antipsychotic medications) and two large classes of nonpsychotropic medications (lipid-lowering and antihypertensive agents) were examined to determine whether changes in prescription patterns occurred as a result of the implementation of Part D. There was no strong evidence that Part D was associated with large changes in access to medications in the four classes of medications examined here.

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