More Than 100 Patient Groups Advocate for Affordable Prescription Drugs

Patient and provider organizations urge the Department of Health and Human Services and the Biden administration to enact policies and protections that improve prescription drug affordability for people in the United States.

A letter sent to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, JD, and signed by 124 patient and provider organizations is urging the federal agency and the Biden administration to enact policies and protections that improve prescription drug affordability for people in the United States.1,2

The letter was written by representatives of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute (HIV+Hep) and the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association(AARDA).1 It discusses recent trends in the health care system that include high deductible plans and high cost-sharing. According to the organizations, high costs have threatened treatment affordability for patients, which negatively impacts adherence and worsens health outcomes.1,2

In the letter, the authors cited the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of how these health care trends are leaving many vulnerable and underserved patients with few safeguards against rising out-of-pocket costs.2

“Amid a global pandemic and continued economic challenges for our country, the ability of patients to afford medically necessary medications to manage their health has been further threatened,” the letter states. “Patients today face significant prescription drug affordability challenges that have only grown worse due to the cost of medications along with insurance benefit design, including high deductibles and high patient cost-sharing often in the form of co-insurance.”2

The groups are advocating for enforcement of non-discrimination provisions in the Affordable Care Act, institution of cost-sharing caps for patients, requirements for insurers to offer plans that include first dollar coverage of prescription drugs, and for policies to address the roles of rebates and pharmacy benefit managers in prescription drug costs.1,2

"The need for immediate action is mounting as patients are facing significant barriers to afford and access their medications amid the economic challenges of COVID-19, harmful insurance policies, and trends in patient cost-sharing requirements," said Carl Schmid, MBA, executive director of HIV+Hep, in a press release.

HIV+Hep and AARDA were joined by 122 other patient and provider organizations in signing the letter. Those signers include the American Diabetes Association, the Arthritis Foundation, Easterseals, the Hemophilia Foundation of America, the Lupus Foundation of America, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

REFERENCES

  1. 124 Patient Groups Urge Biden Administration to Improve Prescription Drug Affordability [news release]. April 23, 2021; HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute. [email]
  2. Letter to The Honorable Xavier Becerra, HHS secretary; April 23, 2021. HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute and American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. Accessed April 26, 2021. https://hivhep.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/HIVHep-AARDA-letter-to-Sec.-Becerra-4.23.21-FINAL.pdf