• In this June 14, 2011 file photo, various prescription drugs on the automated pharmacy assembly line at Medco Health Solutions in Willingboro, N.J. A safeguard for Medicare beneficiaries has become a way for drugmakers to get paid billions of dollars for pricey medications at taxpayer expense, government numbers show. The cost of Medicare’s “catastrophic” prescription coverage jumped by 85 percent in three years, from $27.7 billion in 2013 to $51.3 billion in 2015, according to the program’s number-crunching Office of the Actuary.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

    Senator: Is Medicare drug plan vulnerable to exploitation?

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior senator is examining whether Medicare’s prescription drug benefit is vulnerable to manipulation by pharmaceutical companies that set very high prices for medications.

  • In this June 14, 2011 file photo, various prescription drugs on the automated pharmacy assembly line at Medco Health Solutions in Willingboro, N.J. A safeguard for Medicare beneficiaries has become a way for drugmakers to get paid billions of dollars for pricey medications at taxpayer expense, government numbers show. The cost of Medicare’s “catastrophic” prescription coverage jumped by 85 percent in three years, from $27.7 billion in 2013 to $51.3 billion in 2015, according to the program’s number-crunching Office of the Actuary.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

    AP Exclusive: Pricey drugs overwhelm Medicare safeguard

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A safeguard for Medicare beneficiaries has become a way for drugmakers to get paid billions of dollars for pricey medications at taxpayer expense, government numbers show.