The Coalition to Reduce Spending joined 22 other taxpayer and health groups in support of increased access to cost-saving generic drugs.
These medications, by increasingly competition in the private marketplace, are responsible for lowering drug costs for private individuals, and savings tens billions of dollars to the federal budget.
From the letter:
Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are not covering lower-cost generics and biosimilars, making them unavailable to seniors. Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s record number of generic drug approvals, first generics — products that offered new competition to expensive branded drugs — that launched in 2016 were covered on only 22 percent of Part D formularies that year. This problem has continued in more recent years, with first generics launched in 2017 and 2018 available on only 13 percent and 17 percent of Medicare formularies in their first year, respectively. Most startling, even three years after launch, first generics are still not covered on roughly 40 percent of Part D formularies.
Further, once generic drugs and biosimilars are covered, patients are paying more out of pocket for these medicines. In 2011, 71 percent of all generics were on the lowest cost-sharing tier. Today, only 14 percent of generics are on the lowest cost-sharing tier. As a result, seniors are forced to pay higher out-of-pocket costs to the tune of $4 billion annually, and taxpayers are left footing the bill.
Our organizations support simple, practical solutions to ensure patient access to lower-cost medicines: 1) automatic coverage under Part D of lower-cost generic drugs and biosimilars immediately upon launch; 2) placement of generic drugs only on lower-cost sharing generic tiers; and, 3) creation of a new specialty tier reserved for biosimilars and specialty generics with lower cost-sharing for patients. These common-sense solutions have received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and will meaningfully reduce Federal spending and out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries.
Read the entire letter here.