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Prescription Drug Pricing Expert Presents at Medicare Rights

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[x_blockquote cite=”Peter B. Bach, M.D.” type=”left”]“A 71-year-old should not have to take out a reverse mortgage to pay for prescriptions.” [/x_blockquote]Peter Bach, MD, MAPP, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was the guest speaker on “The Future of Drug Pricing” at the Medicare Rights Center’s Policy Breakfast on April 5.

Dr. Bach, a physician, epidemiologist, researcher, and healthcare policy expert whose work focuses on the cost and value of anticancer drugs, is an ardent supporter of value-based pricing for prescription drugs and favors the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recently announced proposal to test value-based payment strategies for medications covered under Medicare Part B.

Prescription drug spending is the fastest growing sector of all health care spending nationally, yet, the prices for prescriptions are not linked to their value, said Dr. Bach.  “The costs of prescriptions are rising faster than benefits.” Drug prices are “unaffordable and unimaginable,” especially for the 14 percent of people with Medicare who don’t have supplemental Medicare coverage of any kind.

“A 71-year-old should not have to take out a reverse mortgage to pay for prescriptions,” said Dr. Bach.

Rationing is already a reality: if you are low-income or lack adequate insurance, you can’t access the prescription drugs you need, he said.

Dr. Bach refutes the notion that prices are linked to value.

“There is a mismatch between how prescriptions work and what they cost,” he said.

When asked what advocates can do to help clients who cannot afford their prescription drugs, Dr. Bach said that stories of people who can’t get the prescriptions they need are highly effective.

On April 6, the Medicare Rights Center sent a letter to the Department of Health & Human Services and CMS, to express support for CMS’ proposal.

“We are confident that CMS’ proposed payment model will preserve beneficiary access to needed prescription drugs, while also advancing innovative strategies to ensure that people who need Part B medications receive the highest value care available to them,” states the letter.

Medicare Rights Federal Policy Director Stacy Sanders will discuss the CMS proposal and how the price of Part B-covered medications affects people with Medicare at The Pew Charitable Trusts “Public Forum on the Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model” on April 11.See Dr. Bach’s presentation slides:

[x_line style=”border-top-width: 1px;”][x_feature_box title=”Share Your Story” title_color=”” text_color=”” graphic=”icon” graphic_size=”77px” graphic_shape=”circle” graphic_color=”#ffffff” graphic_bg_color=”#2ecc71″ align_h=”center” align_v=”top” side_graphic_spacing=”20px” max_width=”none” graphic_icon=”comment” graphic_animation=”tada” graphic_animation_offset=”50″ graphic_animation_delay=”0″]If you are having problems paying for Part-B covered prescriptions, please share your story with the Medicare Rights to help our advocacy efforts on behalf of people with Medicare.[/x_feature_box]

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