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

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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.”

FIRST IN PULSE: Patient, disease groups ask Azar to keep protected drug classes. 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, POLITICO's Sarah Karlin-Smith reports.

Part D insurance plans currently must cover all medication options in six categories. But the White House’s fiscal 2019 budget plan proposed letting Medicare Part D plans use additional tools to manage costs for classes of protected drugs. And a February report by the president’s Council of Economic Advisors argued government health insurance requirements, including the requirement that Part D plans cover a certain number of drugs per class, were dampening drug price competition, leading to artificially inflated medication costs.

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 lower drug savings but these savings will likely be offset by increases in spending in other parts of the health system, like hospitalizations.


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