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Generic drug capsules. Photo: Anton Vergun/TASS via Getty Images

Many generic drugs are "wildly overpriced" in Medicare, according to a new analysis of federal data from research firm 46brooklyn Research.

Why it matters: Health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers manipulate generic drug prices in Medicaid, and it appears more generics gaming occurs in Medicare — all on the back of taxpayers and patients.

How it works: Medicare drug plans are buying many generics at prices that are significantly above their ingredient costs.

  • Because plans can't conduct "spread pricing" in Medicare, they claw back money from pharmacies, based on those inflated prices, through different means.
  • Example: A common dose of antipsychotic drug aripiprazole costs $0.30 per pill, but the median Medicare drug plan priced it at $2.58 per pill in the first quarter of this year, according to 46brooklyn's analysis. A handful of companies priced it at more than $20 per pill.
  • 46brooklyn's data can't pinpoint where those margins are going. But pharmacies almost certainly aren't keeping big chunks, given how Medicare plans are increasingly clawing back money from them over the past few years.

Go deeper: Explore the data from the study

Go deeper

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Updated 3 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
7 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.

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