Week in Review: Asking Important Questions

Week in Review: Asking Important Questions

08.08.14 | By Kaelan Hollon

How we can further improve patients’ lives? This is a question the biopharmaceutical industry is constantly asking. This week on the Catalyst we noted that one way to achieve this is by supporting ways to ensure patients receive, and benefit from treatments.

As a result, we highlighted two announcements this week to emphasize the importance of accessing new medicines. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the cost of medicines and how innovative new and forthcoming treatments for hepatitis C, specifically, would increase premiums for the Medicare Part D program, which would therefore make it more difficult for seniors to get the medicines they need. Using social media, we have been combatting these false claims, but our arguments received a significant boost this week when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the 2015 average premium estimates for the program were $32 per month, just $1 more for patients, not the 18 percent increase some were predicting.

Also of note was a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) highlighting that, once again, Medicare Part D program spending in 2013 was lower-than-anticipated. Policymakers, however, have been examining the program to determine whether changes and cuts should be made. This would be a blow to seniors, especially when Part D is largely considered a success. With spending in 2013 on Part D nearly 50 percent less than predicted, it’s important to recognize the rare government program that works. Instead of the projected $99 billion price tag for 2013, the program cost $50 billion. With the CBO also reducing its 10-year baseline predictions, Part D should stay intact so that the 39 million seniors that depend on it have access to the treatments they need.  

We will continue to use the Catalyst to discuss how we can improve patients’ lives, and we encourage you to share your thoughts on this issue. Be sure to check back often and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get the most recent information from the biopharmaceutical industry. 

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