Delay of oral-only drugs is good
The Charleston Gazette editorial, "Lobbying: Lucrative political deals," on Feb. 2, mischaracterized Amgen and a provision of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which temporarily delays inclusion of oral-only drugs in the Medicare payment bundle for dialysis services due to major changes in how Medicare pays for dialysis care.
This action by Congress helps to ensure that vulnerable dialysis patients, who are among our nation's most chronically ill and are disproportionately minority and elderly, continue to receive medicines they need.
Several companies, including Amgen, manufacture these oral treatments. The temporary delay provision also reflects recommendations of an independent U.S. Government Accountability Office report cautioning against prematurely including oral-only medications in the dialysis bundled payment system. Also, a new government budget analysis shows that keeping oral-only drugs in Medicare Part D would actually achieve savings over time for taxpayers and Medicare.
Amgen will continue to advocate for sound federal policies that enhance access to care, with our mission to serve patients leading the way.
Senior Vice President
Corporate Affairs, Amgen
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
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