Seniors Group Asks Medicare Part-D Plans To Provide Affordable Gout Medication For Patients

Main Category: Medicare / Medicaid / SCHIP
Also Included In: Gout
Article Date: 25 Feb 2011 – 2:00 PST

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As part of the 60 Plus Association’s “Keeping Seniors Safe” project, the organization’s chairman, Jim Martin, recently sent letters to the CEOs of five Part-D Medicare plans, urging them to provide accessible colchicine-based medications to gout patients after untested and potentially harmful options were removed from the marketplace as part of an important Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety-initiative.

“In light of the FDA’s removal of unapproved colchicine from the market, [these outlying companies] must follow the lead of other Part-D insurers around the country and reclassify COLCRYS as a tier-1 or 2 drug to ensure seniors have access to their vital gout medications” Martin wrote to the CEOs of the companies. “It is unjust to force patients to suffer through often excruciatingly-painful acute gout flare-ups despite the fact that they were promised affordable coverage for their medications.”

The FDA’s “Unapproved Drugs Initiative” calls for the removal of unapproved drugs from the market when approved versions exist. The agency recently acted on this initiative by removing untested colchicine products from the market.

“The FDA did what was best for patients by removing untested colchicine products from the market,” wrote Martin. “We hope your company will also act in the best interest of patients and immediately work to ensure that seniors enrolled in your Part-D plan have access to the colchicine products they were promised-and sorely need.”

In addition to the CEOs of offending insurance companies, copies of Martin’s letter were sent to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Deputy Secretary William Corr, CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Representative Pete Stark (D-CA), Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), and Representative Allyson Schwartz (D-NY).


60 Plus Association

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