Medicare Part B Premium Hike To Accommodate Alzheimer’s Drug Costs Is Premature – Sen. Wyden
Unprecedented increase spotlights how drug costs could drain Medicare, but Senate Finance Committee chair, a prominent pricing critic, urges waiting until Alzheimer’s coverage policy comes out before raising premiums so high. Draft policy is on track for January release, CMS official says.
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The unexpectedly tight fight to get Robert Califf confirmed as FDA commissioner is giving lawmakers additional leverage to extract commitments. However, the Senate Finance Chair may be overestimating FDA’s ability to swiftly pull accelerated approvals without new legislation.
Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug may not cause as much of a financial headache to American seniors as expected, which could dampen criticism of Medicare’s upcoming coverage determination. But questions remain about what exactly HHS will be able to do about Part B premiums.
Acting FDA commissioner suggests a primary reason for outrage over accelerated approvals is the high costs of certain medications despite their unproven clinical benefits, an issue that is outside of the agency’s purview. Health policy experts says FDA shouldn’t be left off the hook that easily.