Patient Advocates Take Action in Support of International Pricing Index to Lower Drug Prices

WASHINGTON, DC — More than 1,500 patient advocates agree: the Department of Health and Human Services’ proposal to lower drug prices in Medicare Part B must move forward. 

Patient advocates from all 50 states signed a petition this week to support forward movement of the international pricing index proposal that would lower prices for infused drugs administered in physician offices and hospitals.

Patients For Affordable Drugs NOW sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma that went even further, calling out drug corporations for stoking baseless confusion and fear in an effort to stymie change and maintain the status quo in Part B. The letter from 10 Patient Advocates who live with diseases that require the lifesaving drugs delivered through Medicare Part B highlighted the grassroots patient petition and encouraged HHS and CMS to advance the proposal through the rulemaking process.

“As patients, we find the claims that this proposal would hinder patient access to be outrageous, offensive, and wrong,” the letter states. “Under the proposal, Medicare would pay 26 percent more than other wealthy countries, down from the current average of 80 percent more. This move would increase access to lifesaving drugs, by bringing U.S. list prices more in line with other wealthy nations and reducing patient out of pocket costs.” 
 
Rounding out a trifecta of advocacy actions taken today, Patients For Affordable Drugs NOW released a video featuring Ruth Rinehart, a patient with Primary Immune Deficiency from Florida and Mike Gaffney, a resident of Washington State who lives with POEMS syndrome — a rare form of multiple myeloma. Both patients speak directly about what the Part B changes would mean for them.
 
These actions follow polling released Wednesday that showed how voters across the country overwhelmingly favor — by a 71-point margin — bringing Medicare Part B drugs in line with what people in other wealthy nations pay. Much like the patients in today’s letter, the poll demonstrates that 8 in 10 voters believe the proposal will result in better care or have no impact on the care they receive. Click here to read the full results.