Recently, President Trump issued a series of Executive Orders that aim to lower prescription drug costs, including an Executive Order that is similar to the Administration’s 2018 proposed “International Pricing Index Model for Medicare Part B Drugs.” While the White House has yet to release specific details about this new effort, the Administration has signaled its intent to implement and test a payment model in which Medicare pays no more than the price that a “most favored nation” pays for certain drugs under Medicare Part B. This effort could include injectable treatments that patients receive under Part B for such conditions as age-related macular degeneration, diabetes-related retinopathy, or venous occlusive disease associated with macular edema.
As a patient advocacy organization, Prevent Blindness promotes policies that encourage patients to share in their treatment decisions and support accessibility and affordability of safe and effective treatments and therapies. We believe policies should promote consumer choice while mitigating over-utilization and over-consumption, and balance provider behavior with appropriate oversight mechanisms on purchasers, payers, manufacturers, and other players in the marketplace to ensure the responsibility to lower cost and improve access is borne by all stakeholders.
We have previously addressed proposals to tie the price of treatments and therapies in the Medicare Part B program to the prices paid by economically similar countries, and have encouraged the Administration to ensure patients are not liable for additional costs or barriers when accessing Part B treatments. Our concern continues to be that patients, who are already facing significant access challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, will see an additional burden when seeking sight-saving eye care and treatments under the Administration’s proposals. We stand ready to work with CMS and the Administration to develop a model that truly lessens the cost burden for patients and creates true access for those facing vision loss and eye disease.