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"Politico: Patient, Disease Groups Ask Azar to Keep Protected Drug Classes"

April 11, 2018

Politico: Patient, Disease Groups Ask Azar to Keep Protected Drug Classes

As first reported in Politico, “the Partnership for Part D Access, a coalition of drug industry, disease and patient groups, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, asking him not to touch the Medicare Part D protected classes... The letter pushes back on the argument that removing certain drugs from protected class status could save money, saying that studies have shown the changes might lead to [d]rug savings but these savings will likely be offset by increases in spending in other parts of the health system, like hospitalizations.”


"Fierce Healthcare: Axing protected drug classes in Medicare Part D may not substantially lower spending"

March 07, 2018

Fierce Healthcare: Axing protected drug classes in Medicare Part D may not substantially lower spending

Fierce Healthcare published an article covering a recent report from The Pew Charitable Trusts on Medicare’s six protected classes policy. The article, entitled “Report: Axing protected drug classes in Medicare Part D may not substantially lower spending,” notes that eliminating protected classes of medications may have a “limited financial payoff.” The article further details the use of medication management within the protected classes — correcting a common misnomer — by noting that “Part D plans do have some ability to restrict drugs in these classes… which could also impact how effectively eliminating the protected classes would cut down drug spending.”


"Inside Health Policy: Eliminating Protected Drug Classes Might Not Generate Much Savings"

March 07, 2018

Inside Health Policy: Eliminating Protected Drug Classes Might Not Generate Much Savings

A new article in Inside Health Policy reports that eliminating the protected drug classes would not result in additional savings to the Medicare program. The article — citing a recent report by The Pew Charitable Trust on the protected classes policy — notes that while health plans would like to see more leverage over drug prices in the protected classes policy, a rollback of the policy would not save the program that much money due to factors such as strong generic drug competition and the ability of Part D plans to restrict drugs in the classes. The article also points out the widespread, bipartisan support that the six protected classes policy currently enjoys. “When CMS proposed eliminating three classes -- antidepressants, immunosuppressants and antipsychotics -- a 200-member coalition opposed the idea, as did Republicans and Democrats in both chambers. CMS subsequently backed off the proposal, then-CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner told Congress the agency didn’t plan to revisit it.”


"Inside Health Policy: More Than 100 Patient Groups Warn Against Eliminating Protected Drug Classes In Part D"

September 12, 2017

Inside Health Policy: More Than 100 Patient Groups Warn Against Eliminating Protected Drug Classes In Part D

A new article in Inside Health Policy highlights a letter from the Partnership for Part D Access and 112 other patient organizations to HHS Secretary Tom Price warning the agency against making changes to Medicare’s ‘six protected classes’ policy. “More than 100 patient-advocate groups are warning against eliminating coverage protections for drugs in six therapeutic classes in an upcoming Part D proposed rule,” the letter states. “The contents of the proposal are unknown, but lobbyists for industry and patients are on edge because CMS plans to propose the first Part D rule since it pursued aggressive policy changes three years ago, according to the regulatory agenda... ‘These tools give Part D plans considerable flexibility to manage more expensive medications, as well as leverage to negotiate rebates with manufacturers,’ the Partnership for Part D Access wrote in a Sept. 8 letter to HHS Secretary Tom Price. Limiting access to drugs in protected classes would probably lower drug spending, but it would do so at the expense of higher hospital costs, the group says.”


"Over 100 Patient Stakeholders Urge Secretary Price to Maintain Key Medicare Protection for Patients"

September 11, 2017

Over 100 Patient Stakeholders Urge Secretary Price to Maintain Key Medicare Protection for Patients

The Partnership for Part D Access presented a letter today — cosigned by 111 individual patient advocacy organizations — to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, highlighting the importance to patients of the Medicare six protected classes policy. “The protected classes policy is essential for maintaining access to proper treatment for Medicare beneficiaries,” the letter states. “Patients with a condition in one of the protected classes have very complicated medical needs, and many of these patients must attempt a variety of therapies before coming to a decision with their physicians about what is the most appropriate treatment.”


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