Growing out-of-pocket costs in Medicare Part D are a heavy burden for many older Americans.
Alliance Submits Feedback on Chairman Wyden’s Principles for Lowering Drug Prices
Published July 20, 2021
July 20, 2021 – Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) recently released his Principles for Lowering Drug Prices for Americans, a framework to guide additional development of prescription drug pricing proposals in the Senate. Senator Wyden is the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Wyden’s principles included:
- The ability for the Medicare program to negotiate acquisition costs for drug prices with manufacturers
- Consumers must pay less at the pharmacy counter
- Prices for prescription drugs should not increase beyond the rate of inflation
- Drug pricing reforms should extend to all Americans, not just those enrolled in Medicare
- Drug pricing reforms should reward scientific innovation
The Alliance, and the Alliance-led coalition Project LOOP (Lowering Out of Pocket) supports prescription drug pricing reforms that will lower the cost of prescription drugs for beneficiaries while ensuring the continued development of therapeutics to address challenging diseases impacting older adults. As Chairman Wyden develops additional detail around his prescription drug pricing proposal, the Alliance asked him to:
- Create an annual limit, or cap, on Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket expenditures for prescription drugs
- Ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can pay their prescription drug costs in no-interest installments (i.e. a “cost smoothing” mechanism)
- Evaluate an annual limit on price growth for individual prescription drugs
- Restructure the Part D benefit to ensure financial risk is distributed in its intended manner
- Expand Medicare coverage to include dental, hearing, and vision services
- Reject consideration of the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) or QALY-derivative metrics in considerations of drug pricing negotiation. The Alliance opposes the methodology due to its demonstrated discriminatory impact on older adults, and individuals with disabilities and chronic diseases.
- Address prescription drug pricing holistically by addressing incentives throughout the healthcare ecosystem that impact prescribing practices and costs for patients and the Medicare program
The Alliance’s letter can be read here.
About the Alliance for Aging Research
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance believes advances in research help people live longer, happier, more productive lives and reduce healthcare costs over the long term. For more than 30 years, the Alliance has guided efforts to substantially increase funding and focus for aging at the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration; built influential coalitions to guide groundbreaking regulatory improvements for age-related diseases; and created award-winning, high-impact educational materials to improve the health and well-being of older adults and their family caregivers. For more information, visit www.agingresearch.org