On November 26, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new proposed rule on prescription drug pricing in Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage (MA). The proposal tracks closely with policy changes outlined in the Trump administration’s drug pricing “blueprint,” with a focus on providing Medicare plans with levers that will increase their negotiating power to secure additional price concessions from drug manufacturers.
The Partnership for Part D Access has released a new report (two-page summary) which demonstrates that Medicare drug plans are aggressively employing utilization management and other tools across the six protected classes — meaning patients are directed to use lower-costing medications whenever appropriate. The analysis, which was prepared by Avalere Health and sponsored by the Partnership for Part D Access, examines the tools Medicare Part D plans are currently employing to manage utilization of drugs under Medicare’s six protected classes policy. The study also analyzes variation between brand and generic utilization. This study soundly refutes claims that protected classes are driving up costs in the Medicare program because it allows unfettered access to the most expensive medications. In fact, this research shows that plans are aggressively utilizing tier placement and other management tools to drive an overwhelming percent of seniors towards lower cost medications.
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