CLC ENDORSES MCCLELLAN TO HEAD CMS
(March 5, 2004)
March 5, 2004
As you know, the President has nominated Dr. Mark McClellan to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). While the cancer community regrets the loss of his vital leadership at the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), we welcome his nomination to CMS and believe that he will bring to the Medicare and Medicaid programs the vision and energy that made him a success at FDA.
We are writing to urge that the Senate act promptly to confirm Dr. McClellan, in recognition of the pressing need for reform of policies and practices at CMS, a need that we believe Dr. McClellan can admirably satisfy.
During Dr. McClellan's tenure at FDA, the agency made very real progress in review and approval of new drugs for the treatment of cancer, as is strongly suggested by the approval of two new anti-cancer drugs just within the past several weeks. There is a widespread perception in the cancer community and beyond that Dr. McClellan fostered an environment within FDA that valued good science as well as patient access to life-extending new therapies.
In contrast, CMS has
embarked on a variety of initiatives that are regarded as threatening
to evidence-based medicine and to appropriate patient access. Notable
among these has been an effort to restrict Medicare coverage for certain
new cancer drugs in clear contravention of both the Medicare law and sound
medical practice. We hope that Dr. McClellan, with his unique qualifications
in medicine and economics, will view these issues with a perspective that
appreciates the value of medically appropriate off-label uses of cancer
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