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Chart shows rebates are growing as a percentage of total Medicare Part D spending. 2016: $145 billion total, $29 billion is rebates and other concessions; 2014: $121 billion total spending, $18 billion rebates and concessions. Price concessions amounted to 20 percent of gross spending in 2016, up from 14 percent in 2014. (Credit: U.S. Government Accountability Office)

Use of rebates and other discounts makes understanding what’s really happening to U.S. prescription drug spending complicated.

The Medicare Part D prescription drug program’s “gross spending” on drugs increased 20 percent between 2014 and 2016, to $145 billion, according to a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

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