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.”
An 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.”
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