GPhA Applauds MedPAC for Recommending that Congress Reduce Generic Co-Pays for Low-Income Subsidy Medicare Beneficiaries
Contact: Steve Arnoff
Policy Change Would Expand Access, Cut Costs for Vulnerable Patient Population
WASHINGTON, DC (April 7, 2016) —The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) commends the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC’s) vote today to recommend that Congress take action to increase generic drug utilization among Medicare Part D low-income subsidy (LIS) beneficiaries. GPhA strongly agrees with MedPAC and others that lowering generic co-pays for this population can increase savings and expand access to more affordable generic medicines.
“Generic drug utilization in the LIS program lags behind the national average and the rest of the Part D population. This is particularly troublesome because, as patients who fall below 135 percent of the poverty line, the LIS population is particularly vulnerable to lapses in medication adherence due to inability to pay out-of-pocket costs,” said Christine Simmon, Senior Vice President, Policy and Strategic Alliances, GPhA.
The Congressional Budget Office recently projects that increasing generic utilization among this group could save more than $18 billion over 10 years. A GPhA letter to MedPAC also states that “reducing patient copays, and increasing the difference in copays between low-cost generics and brand counterparts, increases the incentive for patients to use more affordable generics rather than more expensive brand medicines.”
Lower generic copays are a market-based solution with demonstrated success holding down costs but would require a legislative fix to implement for low-income patients in the Part D program. To avoid increasing patient costs, GPhA supports restructuring co-pays only when there is a generic equivalent available.
“Policymakers should support lowering generic co-pays for LIS beneficiaries. This is a smart way to lower patient and public program costs while taking steps to improve health outcomes for patients,” said Simmon.
The full letter is available here.
GPhA represents the manufacturers and distributors of finished generic pharmaceuticals, manufacturers and distributors of bulk pharmaceutical chemicals, and suppliers of other goods and services to the generic industry. Generic pharmaceuticals fill 88 percent of the prescriptions dispensed in the U.S. but consume just 28 percent of the total drug spending. Additional information is available at gphaonline.org. Follow us on twitter: @gpha.