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ACP-ASIM Voices Support for Medicare Prescription Drug Card Assistance Initiative

March 5, 2002

Internists Still Call for Long-Term, Comprehensive Drug Coverage Plan

(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) has voiced support for the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Medicare-Endorsed Prescription Drug Card Assistance Initiative as an important first step in easing the financial burden of prescription drug costs on the nation's Medicare beneficiaries.

In a letter to HSS Secretary Tommy Thompson, ACP-ASIM President William Hall, MD, FACP, said that the initiative contained key elements supported by the ACP-ASIM including:

  • The program is not a substitute for comprehensive Medicare prescription drug coverage;
  • Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are required to pass on rebates from manufacturers to pharmacies, and subsequently, beneficiaries;
  • Program costs for beneficiaries are minimal or free; and,
  • Card sponsors publish complete drug pricing information, so that Medicare recipients can "shop" for the best card.

"To ensure a high quality of life and to eliminate costly, unnecessary hospitalizations, our most vulnerable Medicare patients must have access to needed prescription medications, " said Dr. Hall. "As Congress develops proposals to provide Medicare drug coverage, we appreciate HHS' efforts to assist aging patients in securing discounts on much needed medications for the immediate future. The drug card program would provide temporary assistance for needy Medicare beneficiaries, until long-term, comprehensive prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries is available."

ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty society, representing 115,000 physicians, as well as medical students, who specialize in internal medicine.

Jack Pope, ACP-ASIM Washington Office, (202) 261-4556

Page updated: 11-04-03

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