Specialty pharmacy association backs bipartisan drug pricing plan

This week, bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced legislation known as the Pharmacy DIR Reform to Reduce Senior Drug Costs Act. The bill would make changes to fees tied to direct and indirect remuneration, or DIR, under Medicare Part D.

The National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) released a statement applauding the proposed legislation stating that it projects specialty pharmacy patient needs.

“Advancing this legislation will be a victory for patients, specialty pharmacies, the Medicare program and ultimately taxpayers,” said Sheila Arquette, NASP President and CEO, in a statement. “High drug costs and anticompetitive business practices that threaten specialty pharmacy’s ability to care for their patients risks lives and significantly drains Medicare and taxpayer resources.”

In related news, more than 130 healthcare organizations praised the introduction of the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (S. 1362, …

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Medicare drug pricing cuts face long odds, expert says

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One of the chief objectives of various drug pricing reform efforts in recent years has been reducing Medicare costs for patients and the federal government.  

Last year, CMS highlighted reductions in prices for insulin and other drugs covered under the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D). But it is more likely that Medicare drug prices for consumers will increase in coming years, according to Ron Elledge, a Medicare consultant at MedicarePlans.com.

“If the new administration returns to some form of Obamacare as predicted, and the Medicare age decreases to 60 years as President Biden desires, the premiums for Medicare Part D will most likely escalate and the cost of drugs for all will see an unpredictable increase,” he said. “History demonstrates that when the government takes a greater hand in the regulation…

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Unclear path for drug-pricing reform after Dem sweep 

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With Democrats having gained control of the Senate and the presidency, some form of drug-pricing reform is likely. But with the raging COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing threats to the Affordable Care Act, Democrats are more likely to focus on those issues in the near term, according to Barrett Thornhill, a partner at the public affairs firm Forbes Tate in a call with UBS analysts.

The political dynamics of the House is one challenge. Even though Democrats have narrow control of the House, they also have an increasingly vocal progressive wing. For that reason, bipartisan healthcare policy from the Senate could “actually have some trouble when it goes to the House because it’s not left enough,” Thornhill said.

COVID-19 itself has stymied prior legislative attempts at drug-pricing reform, while President Trump’s executive orders face ongoing legal challenges.


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