News & Views: 3/15 -3/21

March 22, 2022

Secretary Becerra announced that CMS will revisit the 2022 Medicare Part B premium increase after Aduhelm’s nation coverage decision (NCD) is finalized.

CMS announced the largest Part B premium hike in 15 years in November, citing the high cost of Biogen’s Aduhelm as a major contributing factor. Advocates and members of Congress have been urging Secretary Becerra to readdress the issue following Biogen’s price cut, from $56,000 to $28,000, and after the NCD was announced in January. Becerra recently told reporters that CMS will readdress the premium increase, but no earlier than the final NCD decision is announced on April 11. To read more, click here.

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to discuss policy solutions to lower prescription drug costs.

Throughout the hearing Democrats and Republicans focused their debates on Medicare negotiation. Democrats argued that negotiation is the only way to ensure manufacturers do not take advantage of patients. Republicans equated Medicare negotiation to price controls and focused on the need to address patent gaming while supporting innovation. Senator Grassley (R-IA) notably called upon Democrats to work with Republicans to pass drug pricing reform now; he opined that it is unlikely to pass a plan to lower prescription drugs if Republicans regain control of the Senate. To watch the hearing, click here.

  • To read CIDSA expert Rena Conti’s testimony, click here.

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on the future of medicine, where they discussed 22 policy proposals.

While many of the bills up for debate were bipartisan, the majority of the hearing focused on accelerated approval reform, specifically Chairman Pallone’s Accelerating Access for Patients Act (HR 6996). The bill would give the FDA more authority to swiftly withdraw drugs from market that have not complied with timely post-approval studies. Republicans argued that Pallone’s bill would reduce access to current and future cures for aggressive diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. To read the testimonies, click here.

PhRMA responded to the letter led by Sen. Warren (D-MA) inquiring why there were so many price increases this past January.

The trade group responded to the lawmakers explaining that they do not possess their members’ confidential pricing strategies and went on to say that the analyses the initial letter cited used flawed data. The lawmakers responded to PhRMA once more to state that PhRMA’s evasive response goes to show that there “is no good explanation for drug manufacturers’ behavior other than corporate profiteering.” To read PhRMA’s letter and the lawmakers’ response, click here and here, respectively.

  • To read the initial letter from Sen. Warren’s office, click here.
View Full Article
Want to submit an Insight to be featured by CIDSA?
If you have performed research or written opinion pieces we want to see them. Please use the link below to submit your work.
Back to all Insights >