Partnership for Part D Access Launches Today

BIO joins patient groups and other health care stakeholders today to announce the formation of the Partnership for Part D Access, a coalition committed to protecting access to necessary medications for patients in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

The Partnership for Part D Access opposes a proposed rule from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that would reduce the number of “protected classes” of medication in Medicare Part D, specifically restricting access to antidepressants, antipsychotics and immunosuppressants for vulnerable patients.

The launch of the Partnership for Part D Access coincides with a hearing being held today by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health to explore the proposed CMS rule and its potentially negative impact on senior citizens.

The hearing, “Messing with Success: How CMS’ Attack on the Part D Program Will Increase Costs and Reduce Choices for Seniors,” will take place at 10:00 a.m. The AIDS Institute’s Carl Schmid, will testify at the hearing, which will be available via webcast at:

http://energycommerce.house.gov/

Since its inception in 2008, Medicare Part D has been effective at both improving health outcomes and lowering costs for patients. Despite the success of the program, CMS published the proposed rule that would change the agency’s current policy requiring

Medicare Part D plans to include on the formularies “all or substantially all” of six protected classes of medication. The proposed changes would restrict access to antidepressants and immunosuppressants in 2015, and antipsychotics in 2016, from the list of protected classes.

The Partnership for Part D Access today also launched www.partdpartnership.org, a new website that will serve as a clearinghouse of information regarding Part D as well as an action center for health care advocates and those concerned about protecting access to care in the Medicare program.

Concerned patients and their families who visit the Partnership website will be able to register their concern over the proposed changes to the Part D program with CMS. Formal comments to CMS regarding the proposed rule are due on March 7.

In a February 5 letter to CMS, every member of the Senate Finance Committee expressed concern over the proposed CMS changes to the protected classes and strongly urged CMS to continue providing access to these drug classes exactly as it does today. On February 19, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep., Fred Upton (R-MI), and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), sent a letter to CMS requesting that CMS reject harmful changes to the Part D program and withdraw the proposed rule.

For more information and a full list of coalition members, please visit www.partdpartnership.org.

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