BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More
There will be plenty of changes when newly elected members of Congress take their seats in 2019, but the pharmaceutical industry isn’t waiting.
Bloomberg reports that Big Pharma is lobbying for Congress to roll back recently mandated medicine discounts for U.S. seniors in the waning days of 2018.
The mandated discounts will cost the industry an estimated $1.9 billion next year. Critics say any rollback could lead to increased costs for seniors on Medicare.
At issue is a “fix” to the so-called Medicare “donut hole.” Medicare covers most drug costs for seniors until they spend $3,750. Then coverage drops off and doesn’t resume until a patient’s total-out-of-pocket costs hit $5,000.
To make that less onerous, the government has required drug makers to give seniors a 50 percent discount on the products. In February, Congress bumped the discount to 70 percent.
Now Big Pharma wants that extra 20 percent back. “Closing the donut hole is a good thing” Juliet Johnson, a spokeswoman for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America told Bloomberg. However, the way it was done “was wrong for seniors.”
Have you or a loved one been affected by the Medicare “donut hole?” What did you do? Share your stories with Voices for Affordable Health.