Advocacy Victory: Proposal Limiting Anti-Depressant Access Pulled

Yesterday, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would not pursue a controversial proposal to remove antidepressants as a "protected class" under Medicare Part D at this time. Since the proposal was first announced in January 2014, PAN, along with other disease groups and stakeholders, has worked with Congress and CMS to raise awareness of the negative impact that this change in policy would have on people living with complex diseases. CMS' announcement shows, once again, the value and power of the collective patient advocacy voice!

As a significant amount of people with Parkinson's rely on antidepressants, removing these drugs from the protected classes would have limited access to the medications needed to treat a common co-morbidity of Parkinson's disease. PAN applauds CMS on its decision and looks forward to continuing to work with CMS to protect access to necessary medications and care for people living with Parkinson's disease.

Issue Background: In January, CMS issued a proposed rule for Medicare Part D that would remove antidepressants as a "protected class" under Medicare Part D. Currently, under the Medicare program, Part D prescription drug plans must cover all or substantially all of drugs in six classes: anti-retrovirals; immunosuppressants; antidepressants; anti-psychotics; anti-convulsant agents; and anti-neoplastics. The proposed rule would have removed the "protected" status for antidepressants and immunosuppressants in Calendar Year (CY) 2015 and anti-psychotics in CY 2016.

Date originally posted: March 11, 2014.