URGES URGES PASS-THROUGH PAYMENT
May 31, 2002
The Cancer Leadership Council, representing cancer patient, provider, and research organizations, is writing to urge your support for legislation that would eliminate delays in Medicare reimbursement for new drugs and biologicals that are administered in the hospital outpatient setting. If cancer patients are to have timely access to promising new therapies, Medicare pass-through payments must be made from the date of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a drug or biological.
Unfortunately, the treatment options for a number of cancers remain quite limited, and new treatments are critical to advancing the quality of care for many cancer survivors. Current Medicare policy postpones payment for new therapies in the outpatient setting for a period of months until a reimbursement code is assigned. Because of this Medicare policy, senior citizens are denied access to quality care and developers of new products are sent powerful negative messages regarding the availability of prompt Medicare payment for their products. For a community that depends on rapid advances in care, this payment system is unacceptable.
We urge you to include in Medicare legislation a provision requiring Medicare to begin reimbursing for new drugs and biologicals administered in hospital outpatient departments from the date of FDA approval. Eliminating any impediment to payment for new drugs and biologicals will help ensure that cancer patients have ready access to these therapies.
We look forward to your favorable action on this issue of great importance to cancer patients.
cc: Senate Finance
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