Patient Assistance Programs From Pharma Companies Need Streamlining, US Senators Say
BMS CEO Boerner acknowledged the complexity of patient assistance programs, and the need for simplification, during a Senate hearing. CEOs of J&J and Merck also tout their patient assistance programs as showing the firms’ commitment to helping patients access drugs they cannot afford.
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Discussion around the landmark developments in pricing reform established by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 were largely absent from the hearing involving Johnson & Johnson’s Joaquin Duato, Merck’s Robert Davis and Bristol Myers Squibb’s Chris Boerner.
Defeat for group covering about 50 drugs from various sponsors is in line with an earlier court battle fought, and lost, by Pfizer and means the OIG will continue to scrutinize cost sharing assistance programs with a narrow view of what comports with the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.
There was bipartisan agreement that Moderna needs to ensure that its patient assistance program will be easily accessible for under- and uninsured patients once the US switches to a commercial market for COVID vaccines – a sign of broader frustration with industry copay support initiatives.