Pharma companies restart free drug plans

In a reversal intended to address criticism that some Medicare Part D participants are falling through the cracks, CMS will allow pharmaceutical companies to restart charity programs that provide low-income patients with subsidized and low-cost prescription drugs. Many companies had temporarily suspended programs after government attorneys argued that they could theoretically lead to abuses if drug companies used them to steer patients toward their own products. The result was a wave of negative publicity, as the media seized on individual cases of patients with diseases like cancer and AIDS who were suddenly socked with thousands of dollars in bills. Under the new rules, the free programs will be allowed to continue, but with certain stipulations in place designed to prevent abuses.

- see this article from the New York Times

PLUS: AARP's John Rother and CMS' Abby Block try to put a positive spin on Medicare part D. Glass half full? Blog