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.”
The article in its entirety can be read here.