Medicare Drug Rule Could Leave Patients Unable to Access Necessary Prescription Medications

November 23, 2020

Washington, D.C. —The Trump administration issued a interim final rule Friday that would significantly change how Medicare pays for certain prescription drugs. The “Most Favored Nation” policy would tie Medicare drug reimbursement for certain drugs to that of prices paid in select foreign countries.  

A statement from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows: 

“ACS CAN agrees with the need to make prescription drugs more affordable. However, the countries included through the Most Favored Nation policy have very different health systems and supply chains than the United States, which could mean some cancer medications are unavailable, and patients are unable to get essential care and treatment. 

“The United States is often the first to approve innovative new cancer therapies and it is unclear how or whether such therapies would be covered by Medicare should the program’s payment mechanism be tied to countries that have not yet approved or have declined to pay for these drugs. It is also unclear if these changes would actually save patients money or result in cost shifting onto patients with private insurance.    

“Dramatic changes to Medicare’s drug coverage should only be undertaken with careful consideration as to how such changes may affect patient access to treatments and doctors, especially for those with a history of cancer.    

“ACS CAN will continue to evaluate the rule to determine its likely impact on cancer patients and survivors.”  

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