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Call to Action: Make your voice heard on drug pricing

By Justin Lowenthal, MD/PhD student
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As physicians and medical students, we know all too well that the price of prescription drugs affects the health of our patients. High prices for prescription drugs prevent many of our patients from accessing the treatments that they need, forcing many to choose between medications and rent as out of pocket costs grow. 

However, what is most frustrating is this: any time a common-sense proposal to address drug prices is put forward, powerful interests mobilize to quickly quash it.

This is happening now with a new proposal. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is proposing a set of 6 pilot projects aimed at testing possible reforms to how prescription drugs are reimbursed and the “value” of a drug is measured under Medicare Part B. These reforms are sensible approaches that deserve to be piloted and compared, as it is only through their testing that we can make an educated choice about which reforms will be most effective for our healthcare system – especially our patients.

However, political interests are rallying against them, and a battle is brewing.

Your voices – and those of your patients - need to be heard! CMS is seeking public comment on the proposed reforms, and YOU can submit a comment to support them and counteract those with financial interests in fighting these reforms. The deadline for submitting comments is May 9th.

To submit a comment, please click here

Below is sample language to get you started. Feel free to modify with your own perspective and stories about how drug prices have affected your patients. If you are willing, please also EMAIL your comment to Justin Lowenthal (justin.lowenthal@drsforamerica.org) so that we can collect our stories and build a stronger community to advocate for our patients.

For more information, click here and here, or see the recent press statement put out by DFA.

As always, if you have any questions or ideas, or if you have further thoughts in agreement OR disagreement on this issue, please email one of us and make your voice heard!

Always fighting to make care affordable for our patients,

Justin Lowenthal, MD/PhD student

Bruce Rector, MD

Mark Rood, MD

Dennis Deruelle, MD

Co-leaders of the DFA Drug Pricing/Value Campaign

Sample language:

“As a PHYSICIAN/MEDICAL STUDENT advocating on behalf of the patients I see every day, , I support the proposal by the CMS to test a sensible set of models aimed at changing how CMS pays for medications under Medicare Part B. High drug prices affect all types of patients: those needing chemotherapy, drugs for cardiovascular disease, treatments for autoimmune diseases, even antibiotics for life-threatening infections. 

No matter whether a primary care physician in family practice or subspecialist oncologist, each of us sees the effects of this problem daily. We know that drug prices are too high to be sustainable for our healthcare system and are alarmed by frequent, often exorbitant price increases. As a (INSERT DESCRIPTION – PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN, ONCOLOGIST, DOCTOR-IN-TRAINING, ETC.), I have seen first-hand how high and increasing drugprices force my patients to choose between the treatment they need and other essentials.

I think the approach that CMS is taking – to test a set of alternative payment models and other proposed reforms to better reward the value of a prescription drug – is a laudable and common-sense approach. It is only through this testing of pilot reforms that we will be able to choose the best option for our health care system and our patients moving forward.

I urge CMS to resist pressure from political interests on Capitol Hill and to move forward with this proposed set of reforms. In doing so, you will have my full support, and that of Doctors for America.”


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