The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) today applauded the passage of key drug pricing reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act that will improve rheumatology patients' access to needed drug therapies and treatments.
The Inflation Reduction Act contains several key provisions that will address high drug costs, reduce the financial burden of out-of-pocket expenses, and ensure more Americans living with rheumatic disease can access and afford the treatments and therapies they need to successfully manage their disease."
Blair Solow, MD, Chair of the ACR's Government Affairs Committee
The rheumatology community is supportive of several drug pricing reforms in the Inflation Reduction Act, including free vaccines for Medicare patients. The legislation also includes a cap on Medicare Part D out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 annually, allowing Medicare to negotiate program prices with drug manufacturers, and a cap on the percentage of income some ACA users can be asked to pay towards coverage.
The ACR has long called for bold policy changes that will make rheumatic disease treatments more affordable for patients and target the root causes of high drug prices. In its 2022 Health Policy Statements, the ACR outlined solutions to lower drug costs for rheumatology patients and protect the health and wellbeing of vulnerable patient populations.
"The financial burden of skyrocketing drug prices has forced many of our patients to spread their treatment out longer than prescribed, delay care, abandon prescriptions, or forgo treatment entirely – all of which risks flare-ups, disease regression, permanent disability, and even premature death," continued Dr. Solow. "The Inflation Reduction Act is an important step toward reducing this burden and ensuring our patients continue to receive the high-quality care they need and deserve."
ACR supports allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers and looks forward to working with implementing agencies to ensure the reductions reduce the actual prices of drugs. Past attempts at such changes disproportionately cut reimbursement to providers who purchase and administer Medicare Part B medications without reducing the actual cost of therapies.
"To avoid any unintended impacts to patient access resulting from Medicare drug pricing negotiations, Congress should move swiftly to exempt Medicare Part B reimbursements from the sequestration reductions originally caused by the Budget Control Act of 2011 and subsequent extensions by Congress. Rheumatology providers are committed to working with Congress and the Administration to address prohibitively high drug prices by examining the root causes of drug pricing increases throughout the drug supply chain," stated Dr. Solow.