The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced several new policies aimed at lowering drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries, but critics say the savings may be quite modest and that the proposals may reduce beneficiaries’ access to needed drugs.
“Foremost in our mind was the impact on patients and ensuring affordability and access to prescription drugs,” CMS administrator Seema Verma said Monday on a phone call with reporters. “From day one, President Trump has made it clear that lowering prescription drug costs is a top priority … and CMS is hard at work to make the president’s vision a reality, because the status quo is unacceptable.”
Edwin Park, JD, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, noted how modest some of the savings were in the CMS proposals. “For example, the proposals to allow Part D insurers to be more restrictive with coverage of the protected classes (including potentially excluding certain drugs in those classes from their formularies) would only save $1.85 billion over 10 years, according to CMS estimates included in the proposed rule,” Park said in an email.