The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released new policy recommendations today to increase uptake of biomarker testing and advance the use of precision medicine in cancer care. The recommendations follow the release of new data that shows access is not keeping up with innovation when it comes to biomarker testing.
New Medicare Drug Rule Could Leave Patients Unable to Access Needed Medications
Washington, D.C.—The Trump administration issued an executive order Sunday that would significantly change how Medicare pays for certain prescription drugs. The “Most Favored Nation” policy would tie Medicare drug reimbursement for certain drugs under Part B and D to that of prices paid in select foreign countries.
A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:
“ACS CAN shares the underlying goal of making prescription drugs more affordable. However, the executive order involving Medicare drug coverage creates significant questions around drug accessibility, which could potentially make it much harder for cancer patients to get the drugs necessary to treat their disease. 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.
“The countries included through the Most Favored Nation policy have significant differences in their health systems and supply chains and the policy does not appear to take these differences into account. Imposing such significant changes—especially in such a short timeframe—could mean some cancer medications are not available, and patients are unable to get essential care. It is also unclear if these changes would save only some 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, especially for those with a history of cancer.
“ACS CAN looks forward to an opportunity to comment on the full details of this proposal and will continue to evaluate the executive order to determine the potential impact on cancer patients and survivors.”