Part D Starts Slow
This article was originally published in RPM Report
The new Medicare drug benefit generated plenty of controversy in its first weeks, but the start-up glitches have very little to do with the long term outlook for the program. One key factor matters for 2006: enrollment. And with just 3.6 million voluntary sign-ups so far, Part D is not off to a fast start.
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Pharmacies and wholesalers are expressing their concern about the potential for an upcoming policy change in Part D to disrupt dispensing. Beginning Jan. 1, any medication that does not have an NDC registered with FDA will no longer be covered by the drug benefit.
The creation of an independent health council to weigh in on Medicare reimbursement rates may be part of a final health reform bill. The idea has a number of implications for biopharma-good and bad.
Contracting between pharma companies and Part D plan sponsors that took place last year for 2007 pricing and formulary placement was a relatively straightforward process. This year will be more interesting.