Trends in Inhaler Prescriptions and Associated Cost in the United States From 2014 to 2018: An Analysis From the Medicare Part D Database

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INTRODUCTION: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma constitute the majority of the pulmonary disease burden in the United States. Various kinds of inhalers are used for treating both these conditions, and Medicare is the biggest payer for them. We analyze the trend in prescriptions and associated expenses of various inhaler prescriptions from 2014 to 2018 using the Medicare part D database. METHODS: Medicare part D data is analyzed for the years 2014-2018. Inhalers are grouped based on their drug class. The number of beneficiaries and the associated expenses for each inhaler and the groups were calculated separately and analyzed using statistical software. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Some 85 million beneficiaries received inhalers through Medicare part D over the four years. Medicare spent 50.5 billion US dollars on these prescriptions, which showed an increase of 130% users and 128% expenditure over the four years. Medicare's expense for inhaler prescriptions is growing and is expected to increase even more in the near future.