WASHINGTON — Patients Rising Executive Director Terry Wilcox today released the following statement regarding the Department of Health and Human Services’ new report on prescription drug affordability for Medicare Part D patients:

“Action must be taken to make prescriptions more affordable for all patients, especially among underserved populations that experience higher rates of chronic illness. 

However, unfortunately, the solutions provided in the HHS report will only offer minimal cost savings to patients. 

But that truth is buried by broad talking points meant to make patients feel good, when in fact Medicare price negotiations will only save money for the government, not actual people at the pharmacy counter. 

One of the few promising solutions for patients is CMS’ proposed rule to pass on DIR fees at the point of sale. But let’s be clear, DIR fees are not comparable to rebates. While the rule leads patients to believe they will receive rebates at the pharmacy counter, this is not the case. DIR fees are one sliver of the pie, providing an estimated $9 billion in annual savings, while passing rebates to the patients would provide real relief, to the tune of an estimated $180 billion. 

Instead of rehashing tired policy ideas that provide limited savings for patients, let’s look at true pro-patient solutions: rebate pass-throughs to patients and out-of-pocket caps and smoothing.”