PCMA on New JAMA Study: Medicare Drug Benefit Reduces Other Medical Costs

WASHINGTON, July 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) President and CEO Mark Merritt released the following statement today on a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found "implementation of Medicare Part D was followed by a significant reductions in nondrug medical spending, particularly on acute and post acute care, for elderly Medicare beneficiaries with limited prior drug coverage":

"This study is a potential 'game-changer' and shows how better prescription drug benefits can generate significant savings in other health care settings.  Many illnesses, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits occur because seniors with sub-par benefits didn't have access to the medications they needed.  The Part D example shows that more competition and greater use of PBM tools like home delivery of chronic refills can help address this issue.

"As Medicaid's top-down, fee-for-service approach to pharmacy is bankrupting states across America, Part D is a success story which comes in under budget each year.  Part D has expanded access to prescription drugs and reduced medical costs thanks to the use of modern pharmacy benefit management tools.

"According to a recent report, the states and the federal government could save $33 billion – without cutting benefits for patients or payments to doctors and hospitals – by bringing pharmacy benefits into the 21st century.

"Policymakers should follow the lead of Governors Cuomo, Christie and others who are re-shaping Medicaid pharmacy to operate more like Part D and reject proposals that re-shape Part D in the image of the failed Medicaid program."

SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association