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Medicare :: PhRMA Statement on New Families USA Report

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Senior Vice President Ken Johnson released the following statement on today?s Families USA report:

?Families USA is attacking Medicare?s prescription drug program despite overwhelming evidence that it is making a positive difference for seniors and the disabled.

?The truth is this program is providing better access to medicines for seniors and the disabled while costing taxpayers much less than anticipated. Just a few years ago, barely half of America?s seniors had prescription drug coverage. Today more than 90 percent of them do.

Medicare beneficiaries have comprehensive prescription drug coverage and are seeing, on average, annual savings of $1,200. Premiums, too, will be much lower than projected, down from $37 a month to $22 in 2007, according to the CMS.

?What?s more, the projected net total cost to the federal government over the next 10 years has just been reduced again?the program will cost 30 percent less?or a total of $189 billion?than originally projected.

?Families USA wants the government to negotiate prices as a ?fix? for a Medicare program that is not broken. They ignore two crucial facts. First, the success of the Medicare drug program relies on private sector competition to contain medicine costs. Private plans are already achieving significant savings from pharmaceutical makers.

?Second, when governments set drug prices, patient choice vanishes. Allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices would, according to experts, lead to restrictive formularies and keep patients from getting the medicines their doctors prescribe. While Medicare Part D plans in 2007 cover 4,300 prescription drugs on average, the VA plan includes only around 1,300 prescription medicines.

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