Stark raises questions with federal payments for dialysis drugs

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, said Tuesday that the federal government could end up paying too much for dialysis drugs under Medicare.

Stark was reacting to the findings of a study he requested from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. The report found the cost of dialysis drugs dropped between 2003 and 2009 but the index the Medicare program uses to reimburse prescription drugs rose. 

"This report shows that we must find the right payment levels that preserve Medicare beneficiaries’ access to quality care," Stark said in a statement. "Dialysis drug costs have dropped while the index the government will use to increase prices over time has risen. If these trends continue, the government will be overpaying for dialysis drugs. We must continue to carefully track drug cost and utilization trends for dialysis treatment."