Speeches & Testimony

Pew Offers Support for Drug Management Programs in New Legislation

On February 24, 2015, Congressmen Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced a bill that would allow Medicare to use drug management programs to help stop prescription drug abuse.

The Honorable Kevin Brady
Chairman
Subcommittee on Health
Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jim McDermott
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Health
Committee on Ways and Means
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Brady and Ranking Member McDermott:

On behalf of The Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent nonpartisan, nonprofit research and policy organization, we are writing to express support for section 12 of the Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act of 2015, which would allow Medicare Part D plan sponsors to use drug management programs. These programs, which are also known as Patient Review and Restriction programs (PRRs), are a critical tool for addressing the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. PRRs work by requiring patients at risk of drug abuse to get their controlled substances from pre-designated prescribers and pharmacies, thereby allowing plan sponsors to better coordinate patient care and prevent inappropriate access to medications that are susceptible to abuse. Authorizing the use of PRRs in Medicare would improve drug therapy management, while also expanding the number of tools that are available to plan sponsors to combat prescription drug abuse.

The broad bipartisan support for these programs in Congress and in the FY 2016 Budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services reflects the shared interest in advancing this policy as an effective tool to decrease abuse of opioids and other controlled substances. Pew urges Congress to pass legislation that authorizes these programs in Medicare to help address the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.

Pew thanks you for your work to advance this important public health policy. We look forward to working with you to refine the proposal to ensure that these programs work as intended and maximize the potential of PRRs.

Sincerely,

Allan Coukell
Senior Director, Health Programs
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Cynthia Reilly
Director, Prescription Drug Abuse
The Pew Charitable Trusts

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