In a victory for cancer patients, new Medicare ruling protects timely drug access for current patients

May 17, 2019

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its final ruling on changes to Medicare Part D regarding cancer patients’ access to lifesaving drugs.

In the final ruling, HHS ruled that Part D plans will not be able to deny coverage for the newest cancer drugs based solely on the price of those drugs. As well, the new regulation will not disrupt or delay access to the oncologist-recommended cancer drugs that are currently being administered to patients. 

Sources with direct connection to the administration shared the changes that HHS announced were a direct result of the incredible work ACS CAN volunteers did in voicing their concerns to Secretary Alex Azar and the Administration.

Earlier this week, ACS CAN aired a television ad in the Washington, DC area targeting Secretary Azar and his staff.

The ad featured the stories of two ACS CAN volunteers and cancer survivors and called on Secretary Azar to protect patients’ access to the drugs that they need.

Cancer patients undergoing treatment often require specialized treatments and cutting-edge drugs to target their specific type of cancer. Now, under the new HHS ruling, current cancer patients with Medicare Part D won’t have to worry that their specialized cancer drug won’t be covered.

“Cancer care is a race against time. We are glad HHS and Secretary Azar listened to the countless patients who voiced their serious concern over the proposed rule. We will closely monitor implementation of this rule working to make sure all cancer patients have timely access to the therapies best suited to treat their disease,” said President of ACS CAN Lisa Lacasse.